In an SHTF situation, desperate will turn to desperate measures to stay alive. That’s why a lot more people than normal will turn to dumpster diving following a disaster to scrounge for food or anything else they can get.
But dumpster diving is also about a lot more than just climbing into the back of a dumpster and scavenging for anything of value that you can find.
Here’s what no one told you about dumpster diving:
It’s Not Just the Homeless Who Dumpster Dive
Dumpster diving carries the stigma of being an activity that only the homeless do. In reality, there are a lot of people today who make good money by repurposing and selling items that they find in dumpsters.
Beyond being a viable money-making opportunity, when an SHTF disaster strikes, dumpster diving will turn into a demonstrable survival skill that more people will need to utilize to make it through tough times.
In short, there are far too many items of value that are left behind in dumpsters to just give up. When disaster strikes, scavenging for useful items in dumpsters may become crucial to your survival.
This leads us into our next point…
Repurposing Garbage Will Become Crucial For Survival
In general, the subject of repurposing trash is an under-discussed one amongst preppers and those in the survival community.
It’s a topic that needs to be talked about more simply because it’s going to become an increasingly common occurrence.
There are a lot of items of value that you’ll be able to find by dumpster diving. For example, you can find and reuse glass bottles as containers, drinking glasses, or candles.
You could reuse plastic you find for similar uses. You can use plastic bottles you find as fishing traps or garden planters, for example.
Paper and cardboard you find can also be repurposed for a great multitude of uses, such as for fire starting, recording notes, or for insulating shelters you build.
Additional useful items you may find via dumpster diving include furniture, clothes, or ordinary household items that people just decided to throw away.
You’ll Need To Bring the Right Tools
Dumpster diving will always be made easier if you bring about the right tools. Consider bringing the following:
A Small Flashlight
This will be especially needed if you plan on dumpster diving at night or in the evening.
You can use a cane to help pull things out of the dumpster that would otherwise be difficult to reach.
If you need to cut anything free, a knife will come in hand. Bringing a pair of scissors wouldn’t be a bad idea either.
You Should Protect Yourself With Safety Gear
You also need to value your protection and safety when dumpster diving. It’s very easy to sustain cuts and scrapes when diving into a dumpster, because you never know exactly what you’re diving into in the first place.
In an SHTF situation especially, even the smallest of cuts needs to be taken seriously because of the risk of infection. With that in mind, make sure you bring the following safety gear:
Bandana Or Mask
Make sure your mouth and nose are covered with a bandana or N95 mask that can filter through any particulates you encounter. Wearing goggles or glasses to protect your eyes isn’t a bad idea either .
Don’t dive into a dumpster wearing sandals or flip flops. Always wear waterproof shoes or boots that fully cover your ankles.
Wear thick leather work gloves that can shield your hands against rusty or sharp objects in the dumpsters. Your hands and fingers are always at risk when sifting through items in a dumpster.
Pants And Jacket
Make sure your entire body is covered with thick clothing that can soak up liquids or offer protection against sharp objects. Always wear a full jacket and pants even if it’s hot out.
Be Strategic About the Dumpsters You Choose
Some dumpsters will be gross and contain nothing of value.
Other dumpsters will be somewhat cleaner and a goldmine for finding items of value.
You just have to be strategic about the dumpsters you choose to investigate.
Avoid going to dumpsters that are behind restaurants or bars. These dumpsters are typically smelly and slimy, and any food that’s been thrown in there will be gross and borderline inedible.
Instead, look for dumpsters in neighborhoods or behind apartment buildings. You’ll usually find clean cardboard or plastic packaging at the absolute minimum, and the chances of you finding perfectly clean household items that can still be used are high here as well.
It’s also worth checking out dumpsters that are located by shopping malls for the same reasons. You’d be surprised by the valuable items that people throw away here.
Have Someone Standing Guard While You Dumpster Dive
The best strategy for dumpster diving is to move in pairs. Have one person who actually goes into the dumpster, and another person who stays outside to keep watch and help pull items out.
This will make your dumpster diving efforts much easier and also significantly more safe.
Have Something To Transport Your Items Out
Bring an old shopping cart or a wheelbarrow you can have an easier time transporting any items you collect out.
Again, working in pairs will be to your benefit as one person can search for items in the dumpster while the other person can take them and load them into your transportation device of choice.
Today, dumpster diving is something that people either do to help get them through hard times or to repurpose items to make money on the side.
In an SHTF situation, it’s going to become something that more people depend on for their very survival. Just keep the above tips and factors in mind before you dive into a dumpster yourself.
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