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    Saturday, May 26, 2007

    Reclimation 101

    First the disclaimer; when digging through someone else's leavings, always make sure you are within the boundaries of the law in doing so. I do not encourage or promote unlawfulness in any way, shape, or form. Please check the regulations in your city and state to verify the legality of any type of reclimation activity.

    For your safety, never dig in a dumpster that smells bad or looks unpleasant/dangerous, and always wear protective clothing (thick-soled shoes, long jeans). Never break the law by salvaging goods from a no trespassing zone, and keep away from the dumpsters of financial institutions. If you are asked to leave a premisis, do not go back there to dive again. If found diving there again, you can be charged with tresspassing. In most places, the only laws that pertain to curb crawling or dumpster diving are littering, loitering, and trespassing. If you always leave the area cleaner than you found it, it is very unlikely that you will be asked not to come back.

    Now on to the fun parts of being a Noctournal Reclimations Specialist!

    Good Places to look;

    1) For clothes, toys, household items, and furniture, drop in on your local apartment complexes the week before and after the first of the month.

    2) For more clothes, check out the back of your local thrift stores. You might be amazed by how many of their donations end up in their trash bin.

    3) Silk flowers and bubble wrap can be found most often at the local craft stores.

    4) Packing material of all sorts are most plentiful at home decor shoppes.

    5) Usless silliness like trinkets out of their packages, garden decor, and half-a-set of candles that are fabulous for adding to a gift basket are living in the bin of your local everything-for-$1 place.
    6) Everything under the sun, from artwork and rugs to computers and more can be found at your local colleges during both mid-term and final move-out. College students are in general pretty consumeristic, and don't have a lot of room in their cars to get it all back home, so just leave it in their rooms to be tossed by maintenence, or throw it out themselves. (the frat houses are also good at the end of the school year)

    7) Book stores (new & used) can be a gold mine for magazines, books, and CD/DVD covers.

    8) Gaming and comic stores often have card protectors, game cases, and sometimes even collector cards, small figurines, or comic books.

    9) Specialty shops throw out all sorts of things, and you never know quite what you might get. Everything from leather to hair-styling practice heads and beyond.

    10) Video rental stored regularly toss DVD and VHS cases, and rarely even the odd video, game, or movie.

    11) Home improvement stores (and all stores that have a garden department) toss out busted bags of potting soil and other gardening goodies all the time. A bit of luck will get you planters with a small chip in them or potted plants that are just a bit wilty.

    Tips & Personal Experiences

    1) A flashlight is imperative, even during daylight hours. It'll really help you to check inside that box over there that is too heavy to just pick up.

    2) A long sturdy pole (like a broomstick) is a great tool for poking and sifting through things and extending your reach.

    3) Go with a partner. Not only is it more fun to share the experience, but salvaging can be dangerous work at times, even for the most careful participant. It is always good to have a backup person who can call for help if something untoward happens.

    4) Do a bit of quiet research and make your own map of pickup days so you won't be wasting gas by traveling to a site that just been emptied.

    I prefer making my forays after dark because there are less people. Slower traffic in the area of my activity means less observers to possibly freak out from finding a person in their refuse. I will not count the times I have popped my head out of a dumpster to help a person deposit their load without boinking me on the head when thet had that scared deer-in-headlights look on their face.

    Many police are not aware of the laws and regulations surrounding this particular form of amusement, so be prepared to be approached and asked what you are doing. Answer honestly that you are dumpster diving/curb crawling, then explain the law to the officer. Smile and be comfortable when speaking to any "authority figure". It puts them more at ease and makes them more pleasant to deal with. Some officers will check the laws to make sure. Feel free to continue your search (in the same trash location, where you are. Do not attempt to leave the spot.) while they call the dispatcher and verify that you are correct. Your confidence, friendly attitude, and lack of concern lends credibility to your statements. Most officers I've dealt with show genuine interest in what I've found in the trash, and some have even accepted items I had only picked up because I hate to see useable items go into the landfill. These aren't bribes or gifts because I didn't want them for myself anyway.

    I have had apartment complex owners and shopkeepers ask me to leave, only to welcome me back in the same conversation any time I wanted in order to save them money on landfill fees (paid by the weight), and as a way to have free parking lot cleanup. All I did was stand tall and talk to them like a reasonable person, explaining the code of conduct I abide by, and they quickly changed their (sometimes agressive) stance.

    If someone comes up to you and asks you to leave, quickly put the items in your vehicle that you have already taken, clean up any mess you made, then leave. I have had people remove items I worked hard for from the exterior of my vehicle and toss them back into the trash just to be spiteful. Do not remove any additional items from their dumpster or garbage heap.

    I tend to stick to after dark or dusk, but I will go on the prowl any time after noon on some days if the mood strikes me. It is really up to the diver's personal prefrences.

    Happy treasure hunting, and be sure to let me know what great scores you find this dumpster season!


    moosie said...

    im mad at you, youve been diving with out me
    i want to go

    Whimspiration said...

    But you are so very hard to get in reliable touch with dear. How ever am I to schedule something with you? Hmm?

    Maybe when you are less busy :D

    Come over and we'll do ramen ;)