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Research Papers on Dumpster Diving

Research papers on dumpster diving look at the cultural phenomena. Sociologists have long studied dumpster diving and the role it plays culture. Have Paper Masters reveal the research behind this prolific occurrence.

Lars Eighner uses the phrase "dumpster diving" as an image for what he does to survive after his savings ran out and he became homeless. Before reading the article, one might think it would be a humorous article. While Eighner makes humorous remarks in a couple of places, he treats this subject straightforwardly. His article "Dumpster Diving" provides information on the following:

  • How he goes about it
  • The lessons he has learned that would be helpful to others who might be forced into similar circumstances.
  • The article also gives an overview of the various sorts of persons who engage in dumpster diving.
Dumpster Diving


Dumpsters are those large, usually green, garbage containers one sees in the back of restaurants, near the truck platforms of large grocery stores, and behind fences or otherwise placed as inconspicuously as possible in apartment and condominium complexes. The word "dumpster" is a trade name of the Dempster Dumpster Company for these large green garbage containers. Although Eighner titles his article with the image "dumpster diving," he explains what he does as "scavenging." He prefers the word scavenging to the word foraging some people he talks to use when they are apparently trying to be polite because he prefers to reserve the latter word for "gathering nuts and berries and such." An author forages too during some seasons and as opportunities arise depending on where he is. But it is primarily by scavenging that he survives as a homeless person.

Scavenging Dumpsters

The most important lessons Eighner has learned concern how to evaluate food he is able to find in his scavenging in dumpsters. Although he regularly finds clothing to wear and objects such as tape decks he can use or sell to a pawn shop, he scavenges mainly for food. Most food he finds in dumpsters is edible. Eighner has learned that this is so because of the reasons most food is thrown into dumpsters. The main reason is not because the food is spoiled. For instance, as Eighner relates in an anecdote concerning one dumpster he went to regularly for a time, at the end of the day, a pizza shop would throw into the dumpster at its rear door the partial pizzas it has not sold for orders of one or a few pieces and also sometimes whole pizzas which were refused when they were delivered because they were not hot or were false, prank orders.

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