Question by Woven Roses: I want to start a dumpster diving club at my university?

Best answer:

Answer by Heather
Make sure it’s legal! … it’s illegal in my city, you will be fined here.

Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments!

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2 Responses to I want to start a dumpster diving club at my university?

  1. Marcia says:

    I would start with a few folks gathered through word of mouth. With these folks you can discover times and routes. You can also establish a culture and set of social rules. For example, are you willing to actually climb into a dumpster and how do you handle health and safety concerns from getting cut to rodents and cleaning up after wards? Are you willing to sort through “wet garbage” or trash bags whose contents are unknown? How do you handle the possibility of needle sticks or other bio-hazards? What will the rules be when two or more people spy the same great find at the same time? What happens if you come across stuff that is just too great to go to the landfill yet no-one in your group needs, desires, nor wants it; will you have some type of Salvation Army/Goodwill collection and who/how is it to be toted? Speaking of “toting”, how will you handle large items or a find of a volume of items too large for an armful? What happens when people “put in a request” but are unwilling to come along for the dirty work; what if they are unable physically or due to conflicting time demands? And then, there are the legal issues to resolve like is dumpster diving formally theft of an other’s possessions in your area or prohibited due to health code? Where, how, and by whom, and why are you more likely to be reported? I can guarantee you that if you are clanging around at midnight accompanied by a lot of vocal noise, you are much more likely to be reported than if you are quiet. Likewise, if you leave a mess around the dumpster you are much more likely to be reported. Sometimes businesses welcome the “theft” of their dumpster and side of the dumpster waste stream items. Other times, what looks like a cast off is actually racking or other items intended for additional use; it has value and is considered stolen rather than a reduction in garbage resulting in a cost savings. How will you handle those you meet in the alleys you’ve chosen? What if there is already an established route(s) by someone else in the area? What do you expect to find and how do you expect to use it? Are you gathering for personal use or, are you looking to generate some re-sale income? (I can tell you that there are likely to be more problems if: re-sale is on the mind of some but not others, two or more folks see differing values in the stuff they’ve collected; or if the original owner comes across the garbage they tossed being sold for profit by another person.)

    After you’ve gathered a core group and established your culture and rules, you can grow to include additional members. I would keep it lose and informal; this way there are no responsible members or leaders should you all run afoul of the law. Based upon the experiences and learning curve of the smaller group, I would establish an ideal maximum number of folks. You are likely to draw negative attention if 50 folks are walking up and down the alleys in the middle of the night or in bright day light going through dumpsters for personal or re-sale scavenging purposes. You are much more likely to have conflicts over items between individuals as your numbers get larger. On the other hand, if the purpose to advert the landfill with the items going to a charity, you are likely to draw less ire and in interpersonal problems. However, depending upon the publicity, (either through informal word of mouth channels, formal media channels, or official community channels) your chosen charity could easily decide that they no longer wish to be willing recipients. I’m pretty well convinced that if you use a call to action trhough a tweet or face book posting, you should expect some where between none and a crowd to show up; some may even come in protest as opposed to in support.

  2. Goutham says:

    sure rock it