How to Dumpster Dive in Toronto

Because one person's trash is another person's treasure.

Disclaimer: Don’t do this.

Just because something is in the trash doesn’t mean it’s finished. In case you don’t know, dumpster diving is a form of modern urban foraging technique whereby people search high and low to reclaim goods that have been tossed away. People salvage everything you can imagine including food, clothing, and furniture, and their reasons for doing so range from necessity, to simply enjoying the challenge and its anti-wasteful philosophy. A guy in Boston even tried to start a “freegan” restaurant serving salvaged food.

Here’s an example of a guy raiding a Gamestop dumpster and striking gold:

There are a few Facebook groups dedicated to dumpster diving in Toronto, although they are not too active anymore. There might be useful info if you read the older posts:

Hit up some rich neighbourhoods on garbage day, you can often find perfectly good stuff thrown away. I heard about a guy who found a perfectly functional vintage road bike in Oakville.

Also check out university residences on move-out day, lots of people just toss out their leftover food. This guy on Reddit found a 4kg tub of weight gainer.

Dollarama has been reported to be a good source of potato chips. Smaller supermarkets and green grocers (stores without big trash compactors) likely end up with loads of extra fresh food at the end of the day, or even expired stuff that’s still fine to eat.

Really it’s up to the diver to figure out where to go. Consider it a journey of discovery.

And if you’re actually going to do this, read Rabble’s guide to safe and respectful dumpster diving, and check out GreenHighFive’s Ultimate Guide to Dumpster Diving.

Main photo by Paul Sableman via Flickr