At the Dana Porter library (one of my work places), there is a magic box. It is large and blue, and on the side it says METRO WASTE PAPER RECOVERY INC. Inside the magic box are books. Free books! That the library is simply throwing out because they are old, or the spine is coming apart, or no one has checked them out in too long. Everytime I come to work, I root around in this magic box. I have recently found such gems as the Bhagavagita and Number Our Days by Barbara Myerhoff, my anthropology idol. I think of this as an upscale form of dumpster-diving.
Think of the potential of all those dumpsters out there - magic boxes, all of them! I have some friends on Erb St who it's rumoured have decorated their entire house with items obtained from the Michael's craft store dumpster. And another group of friends who went dumpster diving at Chapters at the end of the month and found a whole stack of magazines, thrown out to make way for the new ones. (When my friends and I tried to replicate this experiment a month later, it failed miserably. For some reason Chapters had no new magazines that month, or was reluctant to throw the old ones out, or had caught on that university students were pilfering their dumpsters.) I know of people in Goshen who feed an entire house of students from dumpster diving. Yes, they eat stale croissants for a week, but it's FREE! You can also get fairly gourmet food, for instance Flat Earth Veggie Crisps or Milano Chocolate cookies. (I speak from experience.)
I have a few select dumpsters around K-W that it is my plan to explore in the coming months. They shall, of course, remain nameless... I don't know why dumpster diving is illegal (well, okay, I think it's trespassing on private property or something). But honestly, if I were a business, I'd be happy that people were able to use my garbage. If I ever own that restaurant, I'm going to put up a sign that says "PLEASE dumpster dive!"
In case you're wondering, that's not me. No really, I just found it on the internet. Why would I put up a picture of myself being illegal?