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Dedicated dumpster diver baffled by products found in trash outside local store: 'This one hurts a little bit'

"This wasn't even all of the plants."

"This wasn't even all of the plants."

Photo Credit: iStock

It's common practice for businesses to throw out inventory for one reason or another. It might be damaged, too old, or it simply might not be selling very well, so it's cleared out to make room for new products. 

This means that dumpster divers can sometimes hit the jackpot — like one Redditor did when they found dozens of potted plants outside their local CVS.

What happened?

The original poster shared a picture of their haul, or at least part of it. 

"This wasn't even all of the plants," the excited dumpster diver said.

"This wasn't even all of the plants."
Photo Credit: Reddit

The photo shows the open back hatch of an SUV. Inside, dozens of cereal boxes are lined up in tiers, creating platforms for the original poster to display potted plants. These include snake plants and some flowers.

"I'm really happy for you, but this one hurts a little bit too," said a commenter. "I wish it was me so bad."

Why are wasted store products a problem?

First of all, when stores set their prices, they consider the cost of the inventory they expect to lose before they can sell it. The fact that they throw so much away is part of the equation. 

Also, growing potted plants and manufacturing the containers to put them in takes energy, water, and materials. Getting all of those things can damage the planet; for example, dirty energy sources like oil and coal pollute the air and heat the Earth. 

The fewer items we manufacture, the better, so throwing out one product just to replace it with a similar one is wasteful.

Finally, the potted plants are good for the planet, doing their part to help purify the air. Other factors are important, but the more plants we grow and keep healthy, the more they will contribute to cleaner air and a healthier planet.

Why is CVS doing this?

As some commenters pointed out, there are legitimate reasons a business might throw out living plants. 

"Make sure you check for pests on all of those," said one user. "This looks like the clearing out of lower-value plants, but I always assume a plant was tossed because it is infested with pests and approach it from there."

CVS also claims it's reducing waste in other ways, like cutting back on plastic packaging and ending its printed paper circulars.

What's being done to help reduce waste?

Depending on exactly what a store sells, it can donate unneeded items to local charities and thrift stores, or sell food on apps like Too Good To Go before it expires. 

In certain circumstances, grocery stores have also given away food that was about to surpass safe temperatures. 

Live plants are a bit of a challenge, but the original poster of this Reddit thread had the right idea. 

"What do you do with all of the stuff you pick up from dumpsters?" asked one commenter.

"I'm hoping to sell the plants and donate most of the cereal," said the original poster.

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