Building An Earthship In Darfield, B.C.

We are a family of five living in Darfield, BC.
Our house is six hundred square feet in total and we are feeling cramped.

We have decided to build an earthship!

So starts the adventure ...

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Dumpster Diving...the last frontier of frugality? Invisible eco-warriors? Low class scavengers?

Stay tuned over the next few weeks as I explore this controversial topic. What's your first reaction?  Who exactly can you find diving in dumpsters?  What's o.k. and what's not?  Are there limits on acceptable finds? Is food o.k. to dive for? Who does the system benefit? What kind of economic supply system feeds dumpster diving?  Think environmentally, financially, socially and emotionally.  Keep an open mind!

12 comments:

fihollandsfigueroa said...

Go for it!

fihollandsfigueroa said...

we're doing research for building an earthship up near Terrace BC. Looking forward toward reading about your process....good luck!

Sandra said...

Where are you in your research for the earthship? You may email me privately if you wish...sandra@northriverloghomes.com Sandra

Kim said...

Can't wait to read more!!

Chris said...

Intellectually, I can justify dumpster diving.

Emotionally, I am not sure if I can make the leap...maybe if you called it gleaning?

It has always really bothered me that food waste gets mixed into commercial dumpsters and put in a landfill. Everybody is complaining about landfill capacity in the first place, and we are filling this space with perfectly good compost that should be going on gardens or getting dumped in a forest?

The irony of paying to haul a tomato that final distance to the dump after it has already traveled so far and had so much invested in it is enough to make me scream!

ARRRGGHHHHHHHH!!!

Ann said...

We did some dumpster diving to build our home (eco-sense.ca). It was a wonderful experience and the kids took to it instantly...problem was when they bragged about this experience to their other friends...suddenly they were not allow to play together anymore.

Carla Shore said...

Just to address Chris' comment about food waste being mixed in, the City of Vancouver is starting in April to collect fruit and veggie scraps in our yard waste bins, and in a year, will collect all food scraps at the curb, and is planning to move towards bi-weekly garbage collection. The City of Port Coquitlam is already doing this.

Sandra said...

Ann, isn't that disappointing? When I hear stories like this I see closed minds that haven't even tried to open a little and examine the issue. In my mind there's a retail store with a front and back door. And a whole year's worth of discussion discussing the differences between what goes in and out those doors...(and the people going in and out too!)

Kim said...

We too have found some amazing building materials from local dumpsters and we will continue to do that. The amount of waste is unreal and so sad! As far as food , I am not to sure what I feel on that yet but I would LOVE to read and hear more about it. There are definitely some strong feelings out there on it both ways thats for sure! The part that I can't wrap my head around is that fruits, veggies, plants etc are also put into dumpsters, not composted..

pcprov said...

Wow – this brings to mind the way things USED to be here in Japan. When I first came here there were 2 different kinds of garbage nights. One was for regular burnable garbage (yes they incinerate most household wastes that can be burned here – a whole different kettle of fish, environmentally speaking, but ANYWAY), which was collected twice a week. The other was called “sodai gomi” or “big garbage”, which included non-burnables and any other large household items (tables, fridges, whatever…) that people wished to dispose of. The thing we (and many other used furniture salesmen, metal recyclers, and some members of the general public) used to do was go “gomi hunting” – we’d watch for “big gomi” nights in our neighborhood and go shopping! When we came back to Japan after a 2-year hiatus in Canada, we outfitted an entire apartment from the gomi – tables, a great bench that only needed the seat re-covered, kitchen cabinets, a couple of wardrobes to hold clothing, even a bunch of dishes! We’d collect what looked good, clean it, sometimes refinish or paint it, and we were all set – for free! Even now, 12 years later, we are still using several pieces of furniture we found then. Of course no self-respecting middle class folks would be caught dead gomi hunting, but we were definitely not the only ones out there. The system has changed now so that you have to pay to throw out your big garbage – you call the gomi center, say what it is that you wish to dispose of, and they tell you when to put it out at the pick-up spot and how much you have to pay to dispose of it. Then you go to the convenience store in your neighborhood to buy a coupon that you write your gomi code on, and you stick it to the thing you’re throwing out to prove you’ve paid to do so. It’s still ok to take home anything you see that’s on the curb, though.

Re: food from dumpsters, I have to say ixnay on that. Who knows where it has come from, why it was thrown away – the “ick” factor is too big on that for me.

Anonymous said...

If you are feeling uncomfortable about dumpster diving consider reading The Art and Science of Dumpster Diving by John Hoffman:
http://www.amazon.com/Science-Dumpster-Diving-John-Hoffman/dp/1559500883

Another book I am reading right now is Radical Homemakers By Shannon Hayes. Sandra, I think you will really like this book. You could have been one of her radical homemakers. Her website is:
http://radicalhomemakers.com

Nicole up North said...

I have no problem dumpster diving for boxes, household items, outdoor toys, etc...but I wouldn't feel comfortable with food though, health and safety issues, and definitely the ick factor....
Loving my indoor worm composter, I would compost other peoples food to receive more black gold from my little workers :)