Professor Trish Ivey
9 September 2013
My Analysis of Dumpster Diving
The essay on “On Dumpster Diving” written by Lars Eighner is about a homeless man, accompanied by his dog, explaining the strategies and guidelines of surviving from dumpsters, thereby exemplifying the wasteful nature of Americans, while explaining the etiquette involved in the process. The author began dumpster diving about a year before he became homeless. He used all of his infrequent income for rent, consequently having to derive all of life necessities from dumpsters. He then goes on to share the valuable information he has learned as a human scavenger. He starts by outlining the guidelines of what is safe to eat.
The main principles involved are, using senses and common sense to evaluate the condition of food, knowing the dumpsters in a particular area and checking them frequently, and always wonder why the food was discarded. He is convinced that a lot of perfectly good food is discarded. Canned goods turn up fairly often in dumpsters and are among the safest foods. However, some canned foods can cause fatal diseases like botulism. Dried foods such as crackers, cookies, cereal, chips and pasta are usually safe to eat, once they are free from visible contaminates.
Eighner shows how dumpster diving is a full time job that requires a lot of effort but following the stages of the process can help someone to become efficient. One stage is knowing a good place and time to look for food and other items that could be useful. For example the author says, students throw out canned goods and staples at the end of semesters and when they give up college at midterm. Another stage is knowing how to eat safely out of a dumpster. Eighner says, eating safely from the dumpsters involves three principles: using the senses and common sense to evaluate the conditions of the found materials, knowing the dumpsters of a given area and checking them regularly, and seeking always to...