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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Dumpster Diving, Consumer Resources, Scams

“I believe there are more instances of the abridgement
of freedom of the people by gradual & silent
encroachments of those in power than by
violent and sudden usurpation.”
--James Madison

The Art of Dumpster Diving

As a kid, our favorite day of the week was trash day. My little buddies and I would go around the neighborhood in search of treasures in the trash folks put out for the week. I grew out of that until early in my marriage. On a drive out of town my wife spotted a unique piece of antique furniture sticking out of a dumpster. Further investigation showed it to be a nice 100-year-old woman’s desk.

With some refinishing work, we sold for $100! Ever since, we keep our eyes open for such treasures.

Dumpster diving is the practice of sifting through commercial or residential trash to find items that have been discarded by their owners, but which may be useful to the dumpster diver.

There are several ethical arguments used to justify dumpster diving. One is, by reusing resources destined for the landfill, dumpster diving becomes a green endeavor (and is thus being practiced by many freeganist communities). Others believe that the wastefulness of a consumer society and its throw away mentality requires individuals to rescue usable items (e.g. computers) from destruction and diverting them to the less fortunate.

Residential buildings tend to throw away very little usable food or "new" items that could not be sold, but sometimes are a good source of clothing, furniture, appliances, and other housewares. Because some people find it easier to dispose of an item rather than donating or recycling, the dumpster diver tends to be the last chance to keep items out of a landfill.
Some consumer electronics are dumped because of their rapid depreciation, obsolescence, cost to repair, or expense to upgrade. Owners of functional computers may find it easier to dump them rather than donate because many non-profits and schools are unable or unwilling to work with used equipment.
Some organizations like Geeks Into The Streets, reBOOT, Free Geek and Computerbank try to refurbish old computers for charity or educational use.

Often, dumpsters can be an inadvertent source of information. Unwanted files, letters, memos, photographs, IDs, and other paperwork have been found in dumpsters. This oversight is a result of many people not realizing that sensitive items like passwords, credit card numbers, and personal information they throw in the trash could be recovered anywhere from the dumpster to the landfill. This recovered information is sometimes used by criminals for fraudulent purposes, such as identity theft and the breaking of physical information security. Information to most Dumpster divers is unusable and if the items found are unusual (stolen wallets/purses) sometimes these items are turned over to the police or their owners.

Because dumpsters are usually located on private premises people may occasionally get in trouble for trespassing while dumpster diving, though the law is enforced with varying degrees of rigor. The California v. Greenwood case in the U.S. Supreme Court held that there is no common law expectation of privacy for discarded materials. Dumpster diving per se is probably legal when not specifically prohibited by state or local law. Abandonment of property is another principal of law which applies to recovering materials via dumpster diving.

In the 1960s, Jerry Schneider, using recovered instruction manuals from The Pacific Telephone & Telegraph Company, abused the company's own procedures to acquire hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of telephone equipment over several years until his arrest.


Get rid of your Swiss Bank Accounts now! The US is one of two countries which taxes its expatriate citizens and now the greed is focused on Swiss bank accounts. An agreement has been reached with USB (Swiss Bank) to turn over 4000 names of US bankholders. Last year, the IRS “convinced” American Express to turn over names of card holders with foreign accounts.

Why everyone wants a government job.
In one example of the "double dipping," Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg retired last year, yet returned to work at the start of his next term.
Now the Nassau County Democrat is paid $101,500 in salary and about $72,000 in pension benefits. He said he didn't pursue the benefit for years after he first became eligible at age 65. But when he turned 75, he wanted to be sure his wife would be provided for. Double dipping of retirement, salary and benefits takes place in every state. Gee, why are so many state budgets strained?
The National Consumers League is warning that recession-related scams continue to flourish, as desperate consumers look for ways to make a buck.
The most worrisome schemes are those that promise people an easy way to make some extra money. NCL says the timing is terrible, because at the same time fraudsters are striking, many government watchdog agencies are thinning their staffs for budget reasons. Find out more about the top 10 scams here:
Useful Consumer Resource Links-Free

Demystifying the digital evolution…don’t sweat the tech at this fun, easy to learn site which offers tools to help even C-level folks learn the web, mobile and digital content.

Free and Paid Work from home resources

Free resources for job loss, job scams and more

Earn cash from empty printer cartridges
Try using which pays from 25 cents to $12 for most cartridges (inkjet or toner). Make more cash by asking friends and relatives to donate (recycle) their cartridges through you. 10 or more cartridges qualifies for free prepaid shipping labels.

Private non-partisan civic watchdog group, Americans for limited government!

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Yours for better living—The Poor Man

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