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Dumpster Diving & Trash Picking Answered

I haven't done much dumpster diving but after seeing some of the stuff gleaned from the jaws of the compactor, I plan on doing some. Any tips or information on good techniques and favorable sites to cull treasures from would be greatly appreciated. Thanx, Mrs. P


Today I found a Brand new cordless drill with two batteries, a Creeper, and a set of very nice headphones out back of a local hardware store.

Here, they just yank the wire out of street lamps and new construction to sell at the scrap yards. So much easier and cleaner than dumpster diving.

Ask fellow divers where the good diving spots are ;)

Thanks you all, excellent tips. I plan on going out on my bike hunting/gathering on my next days off from work.

Something I discovered recently, even though a local company sells timber, they will still give away the packing strips for free, even though it is saleable-quality and useful sizes. Also, if you take a small enthusiastically-talkative child with you, convinced he is going to do the work with you, you sometimes get other stuff for free, if only to shut him up and stop him confusing the sales assistants.

Especially illegal is from personal "trash" sites (for instance, within most US cities, along the street, when people put their "trash out"; some people are just rude enough to consider it stealing, and the law may back them up in that). I got a TV from a neighbor (fried power supply), but because the elderly couple had paid the extra amount for a "tag" (oversized item), I went to them personally first, and asked how much the tag cost and payed them that. It was only right, they being on a limited income and all.


10 years ago

Try dumpsterworld's forums. You'll need to register there but there are some great tips for beginners. (There's a good instructable about it too.) Many members post their finds and tell how to make money selling scrap metal, ink cartridges, and other stuff you find.


10 years ago

In general, you can do a lot better if you have contacts inside a high-tech company. Just let them know the sort of things you might be interested in and you could be surprised what they manage to get for you (works especially well if you're a young student. Schools (even YOUR school) are other good places to have an inside contact.) For instance, much of the stuff I describe as having been rescued from a dumpster was actually rescued from an "electronic waste" bin inside our development labs. It would have been destined to a scrap company (hopefully) guaranteed not to let any proprietary pieces re-appear on the surplus market in usable shape. Sigh. Stuff from earlier in my life: my highschool's old public address system, including a nice 100W amplifier (tubes!) Several thousand dollars worth of wire-wrap panels (stuff with chips and wired) from a company where I had a summer job...

Dumpsters in office area are the best. They consists of thrown appliances, computers, furnitures, papers etc, without all the nasties (foodstuff, diapers and such).

Nice big scraps of plywood can be found in the dumpsters that people have in their yards during house building/remodeling. They normally appreciate it when you take stuff, as they pay ~$500 every time it's emptied.

. Be careful! . Lots of sharp, jagged stuff in most dumpsters. And containers of noxious chemicals, just waiting to be knocked over. . At least two ppl, one outside at all times. For safety's sake and to watch for authorities (dumpster-diving is illegal in many places). . Office complexes will often have some treasures when a renter moves in/out or remodels.