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The Art & Science Of Dumpster Diving

4.1 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1581605501
ISBN-10: 1581605501
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"Dumpster diving" is an unfortunate term for a noble pursuit: reclaiming and reusing perfectly good things that are being thrown away by wasteful or lazy people. It is also a political act highly frowned upon in materialistic societies because it removes one from obligate consumerism. And John Hoffman has written the ultimate guide for perfecting the art. A college graduate with a good job, Hoffman doesn't have to Dumpster dive: he loves to, and lives better--and more freely--because of it. In nations like America, there is an incredible amount of great stuff--often in great shape--thrown out every day. And Hoffman tells you how to claim it as your own.

At this point, I have a confession to make: I am a sometime Dumpster diver myself. Almost all of the furniture in our house has been found abandoned on the streets in our upper-middle-class neighborhood or nearby college campuses: sofas, tables, bookcases, lamps... you name it--even some of our several household computers! Personally, I wouldn't do some of what Hoffman advocates (such as diving for food), but as in the tradition of all Loompanics Press books, this is a no-holds-barred, tell-all book that assumes its readers can make decisions appropriate to their own lives. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

John Hoffman is a bona fide fringe writer and his previous employment is equally checkered - he has worked as a psychiatric counselor, printer's assistant, security guard, pizza cook, soldier, activist, newspaper reporter, hotel clerk, apartment manager and city councilman. He is now studying for a law degree.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 152 pages
  • Publisher: Paladin Press (January 1, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1581605501
  • ISBN-13: 978-1581605501
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 8.5 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,532,188 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Philip B. Yochim on April 29, 2002
Format: Paperback
There is only a small list of books that has influenced or changed my life, books like the Bible, Dune, and the Boy Scout Hand Book. But this quirky little tome on scavenging would not be on most people's list.
But it's on mine!
This is a hilarious and informative "how-to" guide of suburban survival. The book instructs how to look through a dumpster, what to look for, where to find it, and what you can do with what you find.
The book is also filled with great ancedotes and Ace Backwards comic strips. The stories of the author's psycho brother "Slash" are worth half the cost of the book.
But more than the entertainment value is the information. And once you develop your "diver's eye," you will be surprised just how much stuff we Americans pitch wastefully every day, and that's when you come in. Take it!
I've found some great things in the trash, and this book can show you just what you're missing!
Git divin'! Thar's gold in them thar dumpsters!
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Format: Paperback
This book is all about looking through others people's garbage cans, and finding something useful, valuable, or sellable. A LOT of good tips, especially the part about dealing with good-for-nothing rent a cops or other nosy jokers looking to make you feel guilty about being gainfully employed in salvage. Includes tips on how to minimize such confrontations and shakedowns.
The author of this book emphasizes that most people, rather than finding a way to recycle, just put their burdens in the Garbage can; perfectly good and useable stuff: jewelry, watches, money, coin collections, antique toys, reloading supplies, firearms, even brand new goods still in the original box- UNOPENED!
Carry some soap and water and clean up after a dumpster episode. not hard, maybe potentially lucrative to look. Just watch out for body parts...(some people never find them; I seem to find lots).
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Format: Paperback
John Hoffman's book is not only a thorough "How-To" book on dumpster diving, but it is also chock full of side-splitting stories of his "adventures" while dumpster diving. I would highly recommend this book to anyone pursuing a simpler life, freedom from debt, or those just looking for an interesting (free) hobby. Some of the topics covered in John's book include, proper attire for dumpster diving, proper dumpster diving equipment, useful diving techniques, and where to locate the best most loot filled dumpsters in your town. After reading this book I promptly went out "dumpster diving" to test the validity of John Hoffman's assertions. I returned with "loot" that included a metal 5-shelf unit in perfect condition along with a few other odds and ends. Thanks for a great book John!
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Format: Paperback
Although I was diving before finding John's book, he opened up a whole new world of diving for me. Thanks to John, I'm now saving hundreds of dollars a month in food costs. Money that can be put to better use. John, if you read this, thank you! Email me! I'd love to hear from you. You changed my life.
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Format: Paperback
FUN! RESOURCEFULNESS! CHAOS! EDUCATION! This one has it all! If you are looking for a down-to-earth story for giggles, or you're entertaining thoughts of what might be hiding out in those dumpsters for average joes and janes like many of us, or you (like me) are a salty, seasoned veteran of the dumpster diving scene, YOU SHOULD READ THIS BOOK!

Written in an inviting comic-like style with bold openness and humor that keeps you engaged, this text is hard to put down! Follow "Slash" and friends through adventures in dumpster diving trials and treasures as they share time-honored secrets of the trade, and tickle your funnybone while doing it. A TRUE AND COMPLETE GUIDE for ALL DIVERS (and those who want to laugh, too! :) DO YOURSELF A FAVOR and BUY IT NOW!!!
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Format: Paperback
This is an enlightening, entertaining, and tremendously educational book on the act of dumpster diving. John Hoffman is a true trash seeker who shows the reader how to be self-sufficient by procuring their food, clothing, information, and other material in the trash and many times bartering or selling those items at flea markets, consignment shops, etc.

He demonstrates the best diving technique, diving etiquette, what to wear when diving, how to avoid the police, how to act, what to look for, and offers up various stories on what foods to eat from the trash, how to test them, as well as dispels many myths about trash that we have in our society.

There are beliefs of his that I found hard to accept and some of which are contradictory. For example, on one hand he will test dumpster food on his animals or pets to see if they get sick or die yet on the other hand he becomes incredibly angry that people will throw out their living plants. He advocates lying on a small scale - like sending in mailers with fictitious names or information to get free products. Although he appears a little less than ethical at times, there is no question his book is valuable for the true dumpster diver and from personal experience I know he is telling the truth.

My first experience with dumpster diving for food was when I six or seven years old. I was on Mulberry Street in Newark, NJ which is an area of several blocks of meat and fruit and vegetable vendors. My parents encountered an old couple who were eating watermelon from the trash. This couple explained to my parents that they didn't have enough money to live on their Social Security check and this allowed them to eat. It was at that moment that I learned this was an option for survival.
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