How To Open Dumpster Door
Amber Elizabeth Stevens reaches into the dumpster for salvageable items on a recent afternoon in Long Beach. Her clothes and most of the furniture in her house were other people’s junk.
How To Open Dumpster Door
Amber Elizabeth Stevens’ Long Beach studio seems to have everything she needs. The blue front door opens into her sanctuary, alternating between a living room and a bedroom. A floral curtain covers a closet full of Aeropostale jeans and Victoria’s Secret clothes. Three Dell desktops cover the top of a study table. A stack of books is placed on top of each other in plastic crates to create a temporary shelf.
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Here’s the only thing different from the average American household: Stevens found most of his stuff in a dumpster.
A freelance internet marketer, the 48-year-old has been dumpster diving for more than 10 years. Much of the decor in her Pine Avenue home came from neighborhood trash cans, she said.
Grinning, Stevens pushes his latest find into the air. “This is Pomegranate by Marc Jacobs,” she said of the $130 perfume. “Can you believe it? I found this on my way.”
A 1988 Supreme Court ruling made dumpster diving, often condemned as unsafe or unsanitary, legal in California. However, divers can be arrested or fined for trespassing or littering. Stevens is so self-conscious that she always cleans up after herself and sometimes after others, and many like her are horrified by the waste they see and the impact on the environment.
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Stevens, who lives in Long Beach, says he started dumpster diving 10 years ago because he had nothing after fleeing an unhappy marriage and “couldn’t buy furniture and everything I wanted.”
“Most divers will go out at night or early in the morning,” Stevens said. “You want to get there before the garbage truck comes.”
A woman of style, Stevens doesn’t compromise on her looks, even when diving. With her black-rimmed glasses perched on the bridge of her nose, she begins to explain her lifestyle. She occasionally makes her choices easy. “Honey,” she said, “I don’t care what people think.”
With lips lined in glossy pink and lids highlighted with bronze shadow (a pothole hunter), she’s ready to clean up her neighbors.
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Before leaving the apartment, she grabs what George calls her trusty grip tool and a blue bag to hide her finds.
When Stevens was looking for apartments in Long Beach, her search criteria didn’t include a nearby grocery store or doctor’s office. Instead, he searched the trash heaps. “You can learn a lot about the neighborhood by looking at the dumpsters,” she said.
Unlike the manicured front lawns of homes and apartment buildings, Pine Avenue’s back alleys are unkempt and cluttered with communal trash cans. This is where Stevens finds most of his treasures. He looks at every hat and sometimes pushes George.
“Aha! Look at this,” she said as she grabbed a striped Hollister top from the basket. “Isn’t it cute? Now you can buy this at the store, but I got it for free.
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She estimates she’s saved over $400 on her last few trips alone, bringing clothes, shoes, handbags and even a basket of laundry.
It bothers her to find discarded clothes or perfect furniture on the street. “To me, it’s not just bad for the environment, it’s a waste of money,” she said.
As he finished his last find of the day, a distant sound of alarm caught his attention. She raised her eyebrows, “I know that sound!”
He hauled garbage trucks to collect what he left behind and clear the way for new scrap yards.
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Stevens started dumpster diving in his early 30s because he had nothing after fleeing an unhappy marriage. “And I couldn’t afford to buy furniture and everything I wanted again,” she said.
One day, on his way home, he found a lot of usable furniture on the curb. After two hours and a lot of pushing and pulling, he had his new house furnished. Realizing you didn’t need money to feel financially stable was a turning point, she said.
“Dump diving gives me a sense of security,” Stevens said. “Knowing there’s always a way to get what I want makes me feel safe.”
What started as an effort to overcome adversity has turned Stevens into an activist and leader of a trend that has caught fire on social media, in part to teach people how to save money.
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Dumpster diving gives me a sense of security. Knowing that there is always a way to get what I want makes me feel safe.
Now a subculture, dumpster diving is documented on YouTube and discussed in online communities on Facebook and Reddit, where people trade tips and find dive partners.
According to a 2018 National Waste Management Report by the US Public Interest Research Group, a non-profit government watchdog, the US has 4% of the world’s population but produces 30% of the planet’s waste.
Ivory McCracken, a 20-year-old studying interdisciplinary humanities at Oaklands Mills College, and her friends rummage through trash to find things that can be reused and prevent usable items from ending up in landfills.
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McCracken often dives into the bins behind big box stores and is shocked to see how much edible food goes to waste — as much as she and her friends could feed themselves.
Even with all the positives of dumpster diving, Stevens acknowledges its stigma. She denies it. “Even the things you buy in stores are touched thousands of times before you buy them,” she said. “There is no difference in my eyes.”
In online discussions about dumpster diving, issues of sanitation and safety often come up. Many consider it dirty and unsafe.
Health and safety are priorities for Ulta Beauty. We strongly discourage the unsafe practice of dumpster diving.— Ulta Beauty (@ultabeauty) January 25, 2017
Everyone’s Trash Is This Woman’s Treasure
I’m the only one stuck that there is a “junk divers for beginners” group. It can’t be hygienic! — nyasia (@naayyy_) December 8, 2017
I wanna go dumpster diving 🤔 Interesting but kind of gross — August Mesa (@augustfroggust) October 19, 2016
“The whole trick is to get in and get things as quickly as possible and get out,” she said. “You don’t want to make a mess and you certainly don’t want to get hurt. You don’t have to get dirty if you don’t want to. “
The ads, Stevens said, encourage people to “buy more.” But she feels there isn’t enough information on how to dispose of something you no longer need.
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Stevens’ Facebook group of like-minded souls offers information and advice on where to find treasures; It has grown to a community of over 1,000.
“I want to show people that there is a better way to live,” Stevens said. “You don’t have to spend money all the time to feel the satisfaction of owning something new.” At Wine Disposal, we want to make sure our customers can use our dumpster without any additional issues. We want to address even the smallest hiccups. We offer roll-off dumpsters, which means they come off a truck and are rolled in and out of the back. This article will explain how to open a trash can so you don’t waste time and can properly clean with the trash can open.
There are two types of door styles on wheelie bins. The first is the simplest. Handle locks are self-explanatory once you look at them. Here are the basic steps you should take.
Trash cans with a ratchet-style latch are a little more difficult to open, but that’s nothing a little elbow grease can’t easily fix. However, if you can’t unlock the trash can, try unlocking this one. Learn how to unlock your bin so you know how to get into a locked bin later.
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Now you know how to open and close a litter door! Whether you get a 10 meter or a 30 meter dumpster, our wheelie bins are designed to be easy for anyone to use. The next time your project calls for a trash can, remember that Wine Disposal is here to help. Contact us for dumpster rental for any residential or commercial project.
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A woman calling herself Jennifer regularly shares videos of discarded “treasures”.
The 37-year-old posts videos on Tiktok when she visits shops
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