They scour dumpsters near local shopping malls in Ohio during the night when stores dispose of their waste.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on August 18, 2023. It has since been updated.
The lucky ones get the best and even luckier ones get the best out of waste. Although there is not much to that statement considering the unfair distribution of resources on this planet, there is some truth to it. In the most unexpected of places, some people find the most valuable things. No, we are not talking about your soulmate. We are talking of high-end and fully functional items this diver found in the dumpster. Thanks to an unhelpful lack of garbage segregation, many perfectly good items end up in the trash and if you are lucky, you might get your hands on the best out of waste. Reddit user u/hailey199666 posted about their precious find on the subreddit r/ZeroWaste.
The post obtained over 2K upvotes and was captioned, "Some of the higher-end things I found dumpster diving last night to show how wasteful companies are. Nothing is wrong with any of these, all sealed." The image displayed items such as a high-end Ninja blender, a FoodSaver vacuum seal storage appliance, a down comforter and a pet ramp. They also found a CREAMi before this find. A lucky find indeed!
The Reddit user explained that they check dumpsters at local shopping malls near their home in Ohio at night when stores throw their trash out. Many commenters questioned why perfectly good items would be thrown away. In response, u/hailey199666 speculated "They throw out a lot of returns, packaging that is damaged, things out of season, or even a change of packaging. It's crazy." They added, "Highly doubtful that it has anything to do with how wasteful they are. If that were the case, every big corporation would be out of business...A lot of places are like this, where they purposely destroy things and then throw them away. Every retail job I've had, we had to do this."
Many Reddit users were astonished upon discovering this post. "I can’t believe ppl throw away 1400w ninja blender," commented u/rainey8507. A few others also had some great finds from the dumpster. "I live in a college town. Back in 2005 era, I used to dumpster dive in the apartment complex where all the rich Asian students lived, but I would only dive in June when they all moved out for the summer. Flat screen TVs, DVD players, Xbox, PC computers, nice furniture, etc. Anything they weren't taking home to Asia went in the dumpster," shared u/Elephlump. "I worked a summer campus job emptying the recycling stuff and assisting with trash runs. It’s amazing what people toss out. My little sisters had cowboy boots for years and my mom got a brand new aquarium set up for her classroom," added u/Illustrious-Host1903.
According to Dumpsters.com, every day, the average American discards 4.5 pounds of trash, with more than half of it ending up in a landfill. Moreover, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that "durable goods," or products with a lifespan of more than three years, account for about 20% of this waste. It includes long-lasting items such as appliances, furniture, electronics, and batteries.
Though social stigmas and unpleasant odors may deter you from trying it yourself, dumpster diving can be a valuable practice if you want to score free products while avoiding sending unused items to the landfill. It, like stooping, helps unwanted items get more use and find new homes rather than rotting in the landfill.