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On Dumpster Diving

By | Feb. 2010
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In On Dumpster Diving, Lars Eighner tells the stories of his adventures as a homeless man diving into dumpsters and scavenging for what he defines as a necessity. Eighner started diving a year before he became homeless. During this year, the cost of rent devoured all his money and he was left to depend on others’ “junk” that he found in dumpsters. The author describes his life as a human scavenger with no resentment nor bitterness toward his unlucky state of poverty, but gears his essay toward lecturing the wealthy on the amount of waste they produce. His essay made me realize that I take for granted my food, water, clothing, and shelter, and opened my eyes to the necessity of giving to those in need. His ability to find everything he needed food, entertainment, and clothing in a dumpster is a result of the wastefulness of people in our society. When I read this essay for the second time, I started realizing how many valuable things we throw away. I notice, now, that the more you have the more you waste. People in our society take advantage of the abundance of food at our tables and clothing in our closets and carelessly throw away what we no longer want. The author specifically describes a college dumpster as a good spot to discover things from food to furniture. He describes these dumpsters as rich, because the wealthy college students seem to have no true value for their wealth and see no reason to keep food past its expiration date. The author thoroughly describes how to decide what is trash and what is worth keeping. His perception of the worth of a week old yogurt is unlike anything I can ever imagine adapting, but his belief in conserving and saving what is still useful or edible is a valuable lesson to be learned. He understands that you can’t possibly keep everything but recognizes how much waste is thrown out. He doesn’t allow himself to carry what he wants and only takes what he needs including food, blankets, and one electronic. Instead, he leaves...

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