Monthly Archives: January 2013

Dumpster Diving Diary

Most people who go dumpster diving have a story about finding the best and biggest thing; but unlike that tale about the fisher catching a five foot fish, these things happened and we often have the things to prove it.


I had two interesting finds, years apart, in the same place of capitalist excess. I was walking through the Eaton Centre in Toronto with some friends – why was I in a mall? It was cold and my friends wanted to get warm – when I saw a box of Timbits on the top of the trash can. I picked it up, even though I assumed it was going to be empty, but it was full of food. My friends, who weren’t accustomed to “eating garbage”, thought it was disgusting. More food for me! The other time was when I was in a film group which was taking a break in the newly renovated food court. We all were given $10 for food, but I found a mostly untouched bowl full of fries sitting on the table next to the trash can.

Talking about Timbits – donut shops are great places for getting free food. In some cases you don’t even need to go into the dumpster. Try going to a 24 hour store before dawn and, when they are not occupied with customers, ask the cashier if you could have some donuts that are going to be thrown out. I’ve been provided with industrial sized garbage bags full of donuts from corporate run donut shops.

Food isn’t the only thing you can find on the side of the road for free… The Spadina Ave. and College St. area in Toronto is known for its computer stores. It’s also near the University of Toronto campus’ swap shop, which means there are often computer parts being left out on the sidewalk, as well as furniture (If you are not a student, just wait for unwanted or broken but hopefully fixable items to be thrown on the side of Russell St.) Even if you don’t think you could use older computer parts, you might find some interesting stuff on a random harddrive. It’s like reading someones diary, but with pornography. Lots of pornography.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve found in the trash? Know of a great place to find stuff and don’t mind letting everyone else know? Do share!

Dumpster Dan