The average American throws away 4.5 pounds of trash every day, and more than half of it ends up in a landfill.
The EPA estimates that about 20 percent of this waste comes from “durable goods,” which are products that have a lifetime longer than three years. This includes items like appliances, furniture, electronics, and batteries that are intended to last a long time.
It shouldn’t be surprising, then, to learn that a lot of perfectly good items end up in the trash — and if you look in the right place, they could be yours for free. That’s the reason one Reddit user recently went viral after sharing the impressive haul they found while searching through the trash at local stores.
“Some of the higher-end things I found dumpster diving last night to show how wasteful companies are,” reads the caption of their post to r/ZeroWaste. “Nothing is wrong with any of these, all sealed.”
The image, shared by user u/hailey199666, shows items like an expensive Ninja blender, a FoodSaver vacuum seal storage appliance, a down comforter, and a ramp for pets.
In the comments, the Redditor explained that they check the dumpsters at local shopping plazas near their home in Ohio.
Many commenters wondered why perfectly good items would end up in the trash. In response, u/hailey199666 speculated that the boxes were slightly damaged or that the items were returned, and rather than repackaging the products or processing the return transaction, the stores just threw them out to avoid the hassle.
Other commenters agreed with those theories.
“Great find! Large store refund systems are a little broken, not having the ability to refund a ‘broken’ item that isn’t really faulty at all, a lot of these end up in the bin as it’s not worth sending them back to the depot or company that supplied them,” one commenter wrote. “I’ve scored a gazebo, blow-up spa, a full range of power tools, timber, hose pipe, coffee machine, clothesline, lawnmower, racking systems, tool boxes, large metal tool box and probably more I can’t remember.”
“All from bed bath and beyond! Pro tip, we can’t keep anything. Once I saw my manager throw out a perfectly good stroller. So glad I don’t work there anymore,” another added.
Though social stigmas and nasty smells might dissuade you from trying it yourself, dumpster diving can still be a valuable practice if you’re looking to score free products and avoid sending unused items to the landfill. Similar to stooping, it helps unwanted items get more use and find new homes instead of wasting away in the landfill.
Join our free newsletter for easy tips to save more, waste less, and help yourself while helping the planet.