Dumpsterdiving maybe a forgotten art in this new world of disposable products and built in obsolescence in manufacturing. Just ask yourself how many cell phones have you got through in the last few years? How many kettles? You see what I mean!
So before you dismiss dumpster diving as a forgotten way of life led by insane and unwashed radicals you may find a growing movement for real recycling in the coming years not the co-opted pretend recycling we have today as there seems to be some money to be made in certain kinds of recycling as resources become depleted.
The well known slogan "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" leaves out repurposing, bartering, freeganism, and of course upcycling because recycling is easy - trash it in a different coloured container and a nice person that you don't have to speak to takes it away. Most of the recycling ends up in landfill but without the guilt that comes with putting things in the garbage. There are alternatives to trashing stuff…
Dumpster diving is the practice of sifting through commercial or residential trash to find items that have been discarded by their owners, but which may be useful to the dumpster diver. Dumpster diving is known as "skipping" in the UK; the term "dumpster" is American. The practice of dumpster diving is also known as bin-diving, containering, D-mart, dumpstering, tatting, or simply, recycling. A similar term is "binner" and is often used to describe people who collect recyclable materials for their deposit or resale value. Whatever we call it, these people are saving us from ourselves by keeping useful materials out of landfill.
Upcycling means finding a new function for materials that are no longer useful or desirable in their current form. Some creative types have been able to make lucrative businesses out of, for example, taking old clothes and re-using the fabric to make new and more stylish fashion items, taking old tires and fashioning them into attractive bags and shoes, or taking old books and using the covers to make notebooks. The list is long and inventive but the point is the same: don't trash it, re-purpose it.
Freegans feed themselves from food thrown out by others. Usually this involves searching for bulk foods discarded by the restaurant and food supply industries. Not surprisingly, a lot of perfectly edible food is wasted by industries that process food in bulk. Not only is the food edible, it's free! Freeganism is proof that we're far too wasteful with nature's bounty.
Whether you have the creative juices to re-purpose old stuff, the time to find cool stuff in other people's garbage or whether you spend a bit more time seeing if your 'trash' is someone else's 'treasure' before tossing it, keeping our stuff out of landfill is a responsibility we should all take seriously.
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