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Dumpster diving, also known as garbage gleaning or binning, is the practice of searching for useful items in trash bins and recycling piles. While dumpster diving originated when people started sifting through commercial dumpster behind shopping centers and supermarkets, it is now common to practice it by simply picking up things left at people's curbside or look through regular garbage bags.
Dumpster diving is legal in some instances, if it is not located on private property, if there are no state or city ordinances against it, and as long as you do not have to jump over fences or pick locks to access the garbage. Taking private paperwork may get you into trouble if you run into the police. In most states, however, garbage is not considered private property once it is deposited outside for recollection.
Most people who practice dumpster diving do so out of necessity, mostly looking for food. Supermarkets often discard food that is near its expiration date or looks slightly imperfect; bakeries always throw away perfectly good food at the end of the day, and delis often discard sandwiches and other packaged food if the wrapping looks damaged. Dumpster diving focuses on "rescuing" this type of foods rather than on eating leftovers.
Other people practice dumpster diving as a way of saving money, reducing waste, or simply for the thrill of the hunt. Dumpster diving is sometimes a spur-of-the-moment thing, as it would be the case of somebody walking by discarded office equipment and deciding to pick up a chair. Some people do not look for food, but rather for used furniture, computers and electronics, and even books or toys.
Dumpster diving can be quite an organized activity. Many people who practice it belong to groups or local clubs, and some even join online communities to share tips and hot spots in their communities. Others are freegans, people who try to live their life by consuming as few resources as possible, and avoiding participation in conventional economy.
Whatever the reason for dumpster diving, it is possible to take advantage of what others discard. Even those who do not feel comfortable rummaging through garbage can still find an abundance of treasures by keeping their eyes open to what other people abandon.
Do you have any sources? Can you please post the sources.
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Moderator's reply: Source: http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-dumpster-diving.htm
Originally written by: Diana Bocco