The term “dumpster diving” emerged in the 1980s


What is Dumpster Dive 360?

We at Dumpster Dive 360 invite all dumpster diving enthusiasts to come to a fun and friendly website designed specifically for and by dumpster divers. Whether you have just started dumpster diving or you are a seasoned pro looking for a nice place to chat with other divers and show off your finds, we welcome everyone with open arms, a smile, and an invitation to stay as long as they (you) like.

The organization Same Day Dumpsters has written, “Traditionally, most people who resorted to dumpster-diving were forced to do so out of economic necessity, but this is not the case today.”[19] However, the activity is performed by people out of necessity in the developing world.[6] Some scavengers perform in organized groups, and some organize on various internet forums and social networking websites.[6] By reusing, or repurposing, resources destined for the landfill, dumpster diving may be environmentalist endeavor[18] (and is thus practiced by many pro-green communities). The wastefulness of consumer society and throw-away culture compels some individuals to rescue usable items (for example, computers) from destruction[18] and divert them to those who can make use of the items.

A wide variety of things may be disposed while still repairable or in working condition, making salvage of them a source of potentially free items for personal use, or to sell for profit. Irregular, blemished or damaged items that are still otherwise functional are regularly thrown away. Discarded food that might have slight imperfections, near its expiration date, or that is simply being replaced by newer stock is often tossed out despite being still edible.[18] Many retailers are reluctant to sell this stock at reduced prices because of the risks that people will buy it instead of the higher-priced newer stock, that extra handling time is required, and that there are liability risks. In the United Kingdom, cookery books have been written on the cooking and consumption of such foods, which has contributed to the popularity of skipping.[citation needed] Artists often use discarded materials retrieved from trash receptacles to create works of found art or assemblage.[20]

Students have been known to partake in dumpster diving to obtain high tech items for technical projects, or simply to indulge their curiosity for unusual items.[21] Dumpster diving can additionally be used in support of academic research. Garbage picking serves as the main tool for garbologists, who study the sociology and archeology of trash in modern life. Private and government investigators may pick through garbage to obtain information for their inquiries. Illegal cigarette consumption may be deduced from discarded packages.

Dumpster diving can be hazardous, due to potential exposure to biohazardous matter, broken glass, and overall unsanitary conditions that may exist in dumpsters.[6]

Arguments against garbage picking often focus on the health and cleanliness implications of people rummaging in trash.[citation needed] This exposes the dumpster divers to potential health risks, and, especially if the dumpster diver does not return the non-usable items to their previous location, may leave trash scattered around. Divers can also be seriously injured or killed by garbage collection vehicles; in January 2012, in La Jolla, Swiss-American gentleman Alfonso de Bourbon was killed by a truck while dumpster diving.[22] Further, there are also concerns around the legality of taking items that may still technically belong to the person who threw them away (or to the waste management operator), and whether the taking of some items like discarded documents is a violation of privacy. In general a legal concept called abandonment of property covers this question of the subject of ownership of property that is disposed of.

Discarded billing records may be used for identity theft. As a privacy violation, discarded medical records as trash led to a $140,000 penalty against Massachusetts billing company Goldthwait Associates and a group of pathology offices in 2013[23] and a $400,000 settlement between Midwest Women’s Healthcare Specialists and 1,532 clients in Kansas City in 2014.[24]

General Tips

General tips for increasing your success rate and staying safe while dumpster diving:

First and fore most you should always do your research: dumpster diving can be very dangerous.

If you choose to dumpster dive, please use sound judgment and common sense, especially for the safety of yourself and others.

Never ever try getting into a compactor! This is very important and cannot be stressed enough.

If you are under 18, ask your parent(s) or legal guardian for permission; or request they accompany you when you go Dumpster Diving.

You and, only you, are responsible for any injuries or illnesses resulting from unsafe dumpster diving activities so be safe and be careful.

Edible products found while dumpster diving should be thoroughly checked for freshness and defects in packaging, including the expiration date.

Contamination must always be considered and it would be ethically wrong to offer products to anyone without first telling them of the origin. Children should never be exposed to food products recovered while dumpster diving.

It’s always best to avoid being seen by others; the simple fact that you are looking in a dumpster is enough to make most people suspicious. On the same note, avoid making excess noise as it can wake neighbors up or attract store employees and make them call the police.

It’s a good idea to avoid washing and drying your dumpster clothes with your family’s clothing. Wash and dry your clothes separately.

Call your local dumpster company and find out when each street in your city gets its trash picked up so you can plan accordingly.

Many a good item can be found on the curb side near the end of the year. It is a great time to do this as many residents will be getting nice new items for Christmas and tossing out the old items. Another good time of the year is Spring, as many residents will be doing spring cleaning., the owner of this site, the administration, or the members are not responsible or liable for any injuries or illnesses resulting from dumpster diving.


Dumpster Diving Etiquette

Don’t leave a mess. Leave the dumpster in no worse condition than you found it in fact try to leave it in even better condition than you found it, always be respectful of the stores you dive from.

Avoid ripping trash bags – try to untie them if possible, and then tie them back.

Take only what you can use, and leave the rest for someone else.

Even though some dumpster divers chose to break into locked dumpsters by force, it is recommended to look for dumpsters which are not locked.

If there are other dumpster divers around (often happens at some food markets) don’t take more than you are possibly going to use and if you already have too much of something offer it to other people.

Leave a trace if you found a whole pile of something hidden away so that others can find the stuff you’re not going to take.

Appreciate the fact that you get stuff or food for free, and don’t make life harder for other dumpster divers, especially when you know you won’t come to this spot again. We are all a part of the same community so let’s help each other!


Why Would You Want to Dumpster Dive?

People dumpster dive for all kinds of reasons:
Some for the thrill and adventure of never knowing what they will find.

Some to help save money on items they would normally buy.

Some dumpster divers dive to sell items for profit.

Some dumpster divers do it as a hobby.

Some as a way of going green by reducing waste and reusing items that would have otherwise been thrown out.

Whatever the reason may be many people dumpster dive and find enjoyment out of it and you can too!


What do I need to Dumpster Dive?

Disposable flashlight or a headlamp.

Car or something to store and transport the things you find.

Gloves to protect your hands while you are diving.

Lysol wipes/baby wipes to keep clean hands or to wipe found items down.

Old Clothes. Dark clothes are preferred, usually with non-distinct markings. Anything you can get dirty.

Jeans are recommended to keep your legs from getting scraped.

Thick soled shoes that cover your whole foot to ensure you are protected and if do happen to step on something sharp it won’t pierce through your shoe.

A good first aid kit with band aids and a small bottle of alcohol.

Although not necessary, it is good to have a few tools of the trade:

A good stepladder is helpful for getting in dumpsters.

A milk crate that can be used as a stool for standing on while leaning into a dumpster.

An unger a very helpful tool used to grab things. This tool might be better known as a Gopher Grabber or Nifty Nabber.


Where Should I Dumpster Dive?

As a new diver, start by mapping out a good route along with places that sell or make the type of items you would like to find, with the internet and “Google Maps” this is a very easy task.

For example, if you were looking for car speakers, you would want to look in dumpsters behind businesses that sell car stereos. You would not go to a dumpster where the user of that dumpster sold sewing supplies.

In that same vain if you are looking for food you should start with Grocery stores. A good idea is to go to larger supermarkets and other stores right around closing time. This will help you find perishable food right when it is disposed of, so it will still be fresh.

Use “Google Earth” to get a bird’s eye view of the places you are looking to dive. This can give you an idea of where the dumpster is located and whether or not it is a compactor.


Is Dumpster Diving Safe?

Dumpster diving is perfectly safe as long as you take the right precautions and are aware of your surroundings. Your safety is the most important thing, put your safety above everything else and be careful.

Some of the things to look out for are:

Sharp objects, broken glass, etc. Always think and look before dumpster diving make sure there are no sharp objects that can poke, cut, or stab you.

Dumpsters that contain Medical or Hazardous waste. Avoid these at all costs do not attempt to dive in them even the smallest contact with either of these types of waste can have a serious effect on your health.

Lids can suddenly slam shut when windy. Pry the dumpster open with something to make sure it doesn’t shut on you suddenly or just be aware that the dumpster can shut at any time.


Can I make money as a dumpster diver?

Just like anything in life it all depends on how much time and work you are willing to put into it. The money made from dumpster diving will differ from dumpster diver to dumpster diver all depending on how hard you work at it. The more often you dive the better the chances of finding items to sell or use.

Aluminum cans, copper, iron and other metals can be sold at recycling centers. Prices go up and down all the time so try and hold on to your pile of scrap metal until a good price is being paid. Many items such as fans, and hair dryers and TVs have copper inside the motors and power cords.

Many of the items found can be sold on E-bay, garage/yard sales or flea markets.

Keep in mind just because an item is broken or does not work, it may still be worth some cash as many people are willing to pay top dollar for an item they need a part from.


Is Dumpster Diving Legal?

Dumpster diving is legal in the United States except where prohibited by local regulation. According to a 1988 Supreme Court Ruling (California vs. Greenwood), when a person throws something out, that item is now the public domain. Know the laws in your area and dive safely.