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Dumpster Diving

Dumpster diving can be a very entertaining, yet messy hobby. It's a fantastic way to save money, since most people are economically inefficient. They'll get rid of something as soon as it has a small defect. You can actually profit off of this, if you were to sell working items for a reduced price. Anything used for food, or that contained food, should be cleaned thoroughly. This includes using ammonia water, boiling water, lots of soap and water, and other detergents.

Is it legal?

The shortest answer is yes, for both Canada and the US. In the US, this case made it clearly legal, as once it is in the trash, it is discarded by the owner.

However, in England, Whales, Sweden and Scotland (and other places) it is illegal and considered theft. If you don't get caught, then there is no problem. Please, don't dumpster dive for information. Just do it to salvage equipment/devices.

General Guidelines:

Now onto some fun. If you're going dumpster diving, you gotta know what to grab or what to look for:

Computers, or other electronic devices, such as TV's, microwaves, lamps.
Anything mechanical
Any kind of tool
Scrap metal
Any little things for your residence for home improvement
Anything of interest that I have not named

Most of that list is common sense, but it's good to get a refresher. Here is a list of some of the main things I have obtained through dumpster diving/garbage picking:

14 computers (yes, 14) including 4 apple based, all but three of the computers worked
7 computer monitors, all but one of these worked
9 computer keyboards, all of these worked
17 computer mice, half of these worked
5 television sets (I've seen more, but they're hard to lug home haha), 2 of these worked
2 cordless telephones, both of these worked
5 alarm clocks, 4 worked
2 analog clocks, both worked but one needs adjustment
3 microwaves, one I use (after cleaning), and the other 2 I parted out
2 huge AC powered motors - haven't tested them yet
3 built model cars, and 1 unassembled model car kit
3 lamps (I've seen more, but they weren't my kind of lamp)
1 espresso machine
2 coffee makers

1 blender (didn't work)

2 mini-fridges (one worked)
1 super-nintendo with 6 games and 3 controllers
1 full aquarium kit, including 20 gal tank, heater, air pump (and tubing), and filter
1 10 gallon aquarium (which I later broke)
2 small heaters
1 small clip on fan
3 fans - 1 oscillating and 1 box fan, and 1 dual window fan
1 lava lamp
My pyro chemical storage cabinet
1 toaster oven
Countless archaic computer expansion cards, including PCI, and ISA
Countless sticks of computer memory, 48 pin, 72pin, and PC-100
Lots of old computer hard drives (lost count)
2 computer printers
8 highball glasses
2 water pitchers
Many lockable cases (unfortunately without the keys)
3 sets of pliers
2 wrenches
1 hammer
6 screwdrivers (flat blade and phillips head, and one switchable-bit)
2 drills
1 makita chop saw
1 circular saw
1 futon bed, without mattress
Quite a few coffee and beer mugs
3 sets of crutches
1 Wheel chair
And finally, some picture frames for my mother

Obviously I've been doing this for some time. These items was found over the years, and I don't think I have even half of those items still. This is a prime example of why garbage picking/dumpster diving is a good thing. One person saved all those items from cluttering up a landfill. Only about an 1/8 of that list went back on the street. The rest is either still used by me, used by my friends, or was taken to it's appropriate recycling areas. I did not use either of those aquariums. I gave the 20 gal aquarium to my friend, and kept the extra equipment.