How To Dumpster Dive.

I’m just gonna get straight into it because I’m not an article writer bloating for clicks and I’m bored.

But Why?

Because it’s fun and you get free shit. And it’s different every time. Also it saves a shitload of money, and I hate companies.

How Do I Find A Dumpster?

Go onto Google Maps and search for your closest grocery store or whichever other store you desire goods from. Check the satellite view and scout around in street view for dumpsters around the area. They tend to be located near car parks but some stores tuck them away in accessible alleyways.  

Look for stores that are standalone buildings. Stores that are part of larger buildings / metros / shopping centres often have their own compactors or cage off their waste entirely.

Go visit the dumpster in person, and take a look inside.

What Time Do I Go?

Check the dumpster several times on different days and at different times – There’s usually one day of the week where the entire dumpster is emptied, and times of the day when items are thrown out (either during open, employee changeovers, or during close).

As for time of day. There are generally several types of cunts:

  1. Insomniacs who are scared of getting caught so they go at night after close.
  2. Tryhards who have a schedule and grab items right as they hit the dumpster.
  3. Those who go in daylight and generally don’t give a fuck (people don’t actually care if you’re diving, by the way)
  4. Filthy casuals who just check the dumpster whenever they pass it.

No one knows what’s best for you, keep visiting and figure out what works and makes you feel comfortable.

What Do I Bring?

  • You need bags. Bring bags or you will regret it. Large reusable cloth bags are superior.
  • Wear that shirt you impulsively bought 12 months ago and never wore after realising it wasn’t your taste.
  • Thick, enclosed shoes.
  • A pre-prepared excuse


  • Gloves, if you’re icky about dumpster cooties.
  • Multitool, or pocket knife.
  • Flashlight, the ones that attach to your head are good. 
  • Phone, to take your stupid dumpster selfies. Never bring your phone inside the dumpster though or you’ll have a bad time.
  • A high vis jacket and hard helmet if you’re a good liar.
  • A long stick to poke at hard-to-reach items in the bin.
  • Step stool to get access to taller bins.
  • A car, bike, skateboard, or other method of transportation.

What The Hell Do I Do When I’m Actually There?

Walk up to the dumpster. If the lid is closed, prop it open with a piece of wood or just swing it open if you can (might be loud). Look around for any items of interest. Personally I climb into the dumpster with a step stool and dig through it if it isn’t disgusting or dangerous. Cut or open any bags you find. Eventually you’ll find a procedure that works for you.

Be fucking responsible and clean up after yourself. Don’t leave garbage around, and close the lid when you’re done because animals can get stuck. Leaving a mess behind constantly might result in your precious dumpster being locked the next time you visit.

Can I Eat XYZ?

Expiry and best before dates aren’t related to food safety.

Our noses are really great at detecting if something is off – give it a sniff, then do a small taste test. All good? Then it’s fine.

Sugar is a preservative – the more sugary something is, the longer it tends to last.

Candy bars pretty much don’t expire. 

Float eggs to see if they’re still viable.

Check bread for mold.

Meat and milk are safer if you live in a colder climate, but it’s even more safe if you grab it immediately after being thrown out. Always do the sniff test.

Some people aren’t comfortable with unsealed food. Some people aren’t comfortable with meat or dairy. Do whatever makes you happy, there’s no right or wrong and I can’t be bothered arguing about it.

I Can’t Find Shit!

Be patient and don’t have any expectations. Try to experiment with the places and times that you dive at. Don’t give up if you don’t find anything that day.



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