10 Great Online Resources To Support Your Dumpster Diving Lifestyle

Saikat Basu 15-05-2012

dumpster divingYou wouldn’t normally associate the image of someone in America or Europe diving into a rubbish bin to search for reusable trash. But dumpster diving (thankfully) is neither a post-apocalyptic survival technique nor a statement of an economy on the downturn. It is more of a social trend, a hobby, or better still – an environmental statement.


Dumpster diving is urban scavenging in search of items that can be recycled into something useful or turned into cash. Plus, as the Wikipedia page on the subject tells you, rummaging through your neighborhood garbage bin has uses for students, artists, and even scientists. So, if you have already started endorsing dumpster diving, here are ten resources that can help you learn more.


10 Great Online Resources To Support Your Dumpster Diving Lifestyle dumpster dive01

The online how-to manual gives you a one page brief and concise introduction to the ‘sport’ of diving into dumpsters. As it is described elsewhere too, Wikihow also says – one man’s trash is another man’s treasure! In your excitement to scout out the nearest dumpster, don’t forget to read the section on warnings.


guide to dumpster diving

Trashwiki is a great resource for those with an alternative lifestyle. Though it probably hasn’t been updated since 2011, 742 articles on trash and how to extract value from it make for a lot of tips. Trashwiki has dedicated articles on dumpster diving, skipping waste, and freeganism. Check out the external links on the wiki which give you a few more information sources on skipping (as the British call it). Some of the links don’t work though.


Dumpster Divers Paradise [No Longer Available]

guide to dumpster diving

This is a place where you can share your experiences – the good and the bad – while pursuing dumpsters. Topic forums provide tips, advice, suggestions and funny stories, all on dumpster diving. Then there is a forum for meeting other divers and a great place to find deals, bargains, coupons and much more. Go over the Frequently Asked Questions where queries like ‘Is dumpster diving legal?’, ‘Is dumpster diving safe?’, and a few more have been answered. But of course, as the site says, you should also do your own research.

Freegan Info

guide to dumpster diving

Freegans are our modern day salvagers especially when it comes to food. Freeganism is the practice of reclaiming and eating food that has been discarded. One can place it as a key part of the dumpster lifestyle. The site is like an outreach platform for freegans in the U.S. and around the world too. The site highlights events, meetings, group dives into dumpsters, and other organizational and community meets that promote the alternate lifestyle. There is a calendar of events you can check out. Freegan Info also has Dumpster Directory for recycling stuff retailers throw out.


Frugal Village

dumpster diving finds

Frugal Village and its tips on how to live a frugal life may not be directly on dumpster diving, but it is correlated as both their objectives crisscross. The site stresses on eco-frugality, something that is at the center of scavenging and recycling junk. Sara Noel shares practical advice on money saving tips, debt reduction, budgeting, DIY projects, crafts and more from her own experience. Dumpster divers would do well to check out similar sites so that they can recycle stuff in alternative ways.

The Living Web

dumpster diving finds

The Living Web is another one brief stopover for those wanting to know all about the activity. The webpage (or article) has lots of interesting links and tidbits that can help to motivate you to take the dive. For instance, you can dumpster dive for charity, turn trash into art, and even make money for yourself in the flea market. If you plan to really go into it, also look into the recommended book.


The Freecycle Network

dumpster diving finds

People throw away perfectly good items. That’s where you come – the intrepid dumpster diver. But what do you do with extras that you salvage? Use The Freecycle Network and its local network to give away the stuff and earn a few eco-brownie points. The network has representations worldwide with 5,041 groups with 8,952,412 members. What you take out from the dumpster ultimately helps to reduce the size of the landfills and protects the environment.

Yahoo Groups

10 Great Online Resources To Support Your Dumpster Diving Lifestyle dumpster dive08

I haven’t joined this group to check it out more thoroughly because I am wary of the deluge of emails from members of the Yahoo group of dumpster divers. If you are looking to be one, join in. There are 979 of them already there, so there should be a lot to learn and talk about.



From Howcast video tutorials on how to dumpster dive to videos from around the world, except to find a ton of riches even before you jump into your first trash can. DannysCam is one of the largest channels with 503 videos, though not all are on the hobby. The Salvage Army has its own presence too.


10 Great Online Resources To Support Your Dumpster Diving Lifestyle dumpster dive09

The MeetUp site is a great place to find fellow dumpster divers near your area and plan or attend a meet-up. Dumpster diving at its best is a group activity, so if there’s one happening in your area or if you want to start one, the world’s largest network of local groups could be of help. You are sure to find a few interested friends among the 9.5 million members of the social site. There are 5,000+ enthusiasts according to the site.

These are the best websites on the subject that I could find. Maybe because it’s still on the fringes of mainstream. Have I missed a blinder here? If you are a dumpster diving buff you would know. If you think dumpster diving is for those who want to live off the grid, let us know your feelings – is it just an alternative lifestyle fad or does it have its uses?

For recycling stuff, read up on some of our past posts:

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Related topics: Green Technology, Recycling.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

Whatsapp Pinterest

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Grant Mandell
    June 27, 2020 at 5:39 am

    Dumpster diving is amazing and eco-friendly. Just be safe and use the right gear. Be smart though when hunting and always have the right supplies. Check out for top of the line gear at the right price

  2. doug
    October 30, 2017 at 9:09 pm

    84 tubes of gound beef frozen . 5or 6 frozen ice cream cakes. dozens of 1 lb.cheese . 32 frozen pizzas.tons of yogurt drinks . 1 large box of 1 pint bottles of ale. major groc.chain 1 stop. filled 1 shopping cart.

  3. Anonymous
    April 8, 2016 at 5:37 pm

    Regarding Food, I Believe FRANCE Made It A Crime For Unsold Food To Be Thrown Away.

    To Discourage Dumpster Diving Some mfs Went As Far As Drowning Food With Bleach.

    A - Food That Are Still In Good Eating Condition Should Ge Donated To Humane Associations,

    B - Food That Does Not Comply With ( A ) Should Be Donated To Farmers, So They Can Use It As Fertilizer - Nothing Is Lost, Nothing Is Created, Everything Is Transformed.


    My Dumpster Diving Does Not Involve Food ( Not Yet, Anyway ) But All Kinds Of Thrown Away Devices, Especially Electronic Ones.

    Nothing Makes My Day Like Finding An Abandoned Tower PC Near A Dumpster.

    I Dismantle It, Collect The Small Parts, And Resend The Rest To Someone Else Down The Line.

    Unfortunately, Almost In A Decade, And With The Economic Bubble, I Can Not Find Towers Anywhere.

    It Is My Wake Up Call - I Know Things Will Be A Lot Better The Day I Will Find An Abandoned Tower, Again.


  4. Monte Hill
    May 20, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    Great tips. I would inform your viewers though the FreeCycle is really anal about every tiny rule, and be prepared to be scolded if you bend their rules about your posts. For example they a have a script you have to repeat in every post, or in no time at all they will threaten to pull you access. That's the way the Bay Area Chapter is anyway. I suggest you go straight to Craigslist and check out Free stuff, in the for sale room, you be under less gulag review.

    • Saikat Basu
      May 22, 2012 at 11:20 am

      Thanks for this feedback.

  5. Chris Hoffman
    May 20, 2012 at 1:53 am

    Interesting that this is so popular. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised, with the economy and all.

    Freeganism is interesting. It makes a good point about how much waste there is in the system that they can afford to live this way. Still, I wouldn't want to participate in it.

    The fascinating thing is that the waste in the system enables freegans. If the system was more efficient and people wasted less, freegans would have to participate more in it.

    • Saikat Basu
      May 20, 2012 at 4:33 am

      Oh there is a lot of waste. Food waste is a complex thing to handle for example. If you don't have infrastructure like cold storage units, food is made to rot on the streets and dumps in many countries including my own. Releasing it for cheap would disturb the market economics. Strange but sad. Freeganism is for the extremely committed.

      • Chris Hoffman
        May 22, 2012 at 1:15 am

        In an ideal world, they'd at least donate the food to homeless shelters and soup kitchens instead of letting it rot.

        • Saikat Basu
          May 22, 2012 at 11:19 am

          It is simply lack of awareness and a lack of a sharing attitude. Even in India we have hotlines of organizations who collect waste food and donate it.