Dumpster Diving & Repurposing

by Catherine Haug, September 14, 2011

Flathead County wants to curtail all dumpster diving in the county. The cited reasons for the ban have to do with public safety: one can get hurt or sick scrounging in the dumpsters, or attacked by fellow divers who want what you found. But how much of that really happens at our rural drop sites?

Back in June, the County Solid Waste District Board heard public comments (see the minutes for the comments), and on July 1, they adopted a ban on dumpster diving at the Columbia Falls green boxes, as an experiment to be monitored. In August the Daily Inter Lake reported that there has been no significant increase in waste hauled from the Columbia Falls container site.

So it must be OK to continue with the ban, and expand it to other container sites?

Well, not if you support reuse and repurposing. If perfectly useable but cast-off items must not be saved from going to the dump, finding those items for repurposing becomes much more difficult, and possibly expensive. The only reasonable options remaining are yard and rummage sales.

Come to ESP’s Repurposing Show & Tell, Sept 21, to see some great examples of repurposing, and also to discuss the dumpster diving issue.

And for a bit of entertaining reading, see: My LIfe as a (Dumpster) Diver by Natalya Savka, on the Sierra Club website. From the post: “Some people scavenge food from dumpsters not because they need to, but because they hate to see so much go to waste. They bring flashlights and strong stomachs, and are ready to run.”

Comments are closed.