There was a whole dumpster diving culture where I grew up, so much that the stores started locking their dumpsters. It was okay, though, we stole their keys and made copies of them. I lived in a bookstore then. A few of us did, it wasn’t radical or anything, we were just homeless and the lady who owned the bookstore was nice. We all had dumpster diving key rings, with copies of all the key dumpsters, and we would cook big pots of dumpster dived food on the woodstove after the store closed.
I guess dumpster diving is a pop culture thing now. I’m kind of pissed that all these rich people who don’t have to dive are diving just to be cool. I’m kind of pissed that all these people who could get so much food and stop rationing the fucking ramen are too proud to dive. Mostly, I’m pissed that the dominant culture brings animals and plants into being just for the purpose of eating, and they live their whole miserable, engineered lives just to be eaten, and then they THROW THEM IN THE FUCKING DUMPSTER. Assholes. So, since that’s what I’m the most pissed about, I think everyone should dumpster dive. Save the bodies of those who lived their whole lives for you to eat them before they go to a landfill.
Where should you dumpster dive? Where do you shop? Where would you shop if you had the money? That’s where the stuff you like is. Fruits and veggies are the most-tossed items, and if you keep going back you’ll find out what days are the scheduled produce dumping days. You can more than keep yourself in fruit and veggies by hitting a good dumpster once or twice a week. There’s even a popular health food chain that individually wraps their veggies in plastic for sale, so that when you fish them out of the dumpster they’re still clean and individually wrapped. But there are plenty of things to dive besides food – check out your furniture stores, college dorms, office places, etc.
When should you dive? I like to go at night, about the time the strip clubs close, and be all stealthy. There are people who go during the day and try to be unobtrusive in the dumpster, but that doesn’t really work for me.
How to dive? Unless you hit the motherload, you probably won’t actually be diving into the dumpster. Just pull up close to the dumpster and jump out with your flashlight. Look for good things, and then liberate them from their bags. It’s good to have a stick or something with a hook on the end for reaching things that are further away. In grocery store dumpsters, keep an eye out for boxes: they often toss the produce in the same box it came in. If you hit a good vein, keep going until it runs out.
What if you get caught? Dumpsters are private property, and it’s usually illegal to be in them. It’s pretty hard to get arrested for dumpster diving, tho. Just act like a poor hungry little wretch and tell the cop you’re sorry. They’ll tell you not to come back, and you promise not to go back. I’ve never got a ticket or anything (well, I got arrested out of a dumpster once, but I was really really asking for it, and then they let me go when they figured out I was a minor).
Be a good dumpster diver, and don’t take more than you can use. Leave anything you’re not taking at the top of the dumpster for the next diver, not next to the dumpster where the store will see it in the morning and get mad. If you run into other divers, share.
And if you see the kid I used to be in a dumpster somewhere, share your dumpster keys…