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June 1, 2010

Dumpster Diving? $1,000 fine, or year in Jail.

University of Colorado police say: turning Trash into Treasure is illegal.

Via New Era News‘ Lauren Egdahl.

‘Tis a sad day when the fun of dumpster diving is ripped away from us.

Who would have known the age old saying “your trash is my treasure” no longer holds true and that if you do decide to dive into the pool of riches we have come to know as dumpsters, you could be penalized with either a $1,000 fine or up to a year in jail?

It seems that CU police have imposed a ban on the art of, ‘dumpster diving,’ implying that there are security threats related to people hopping into buckets of waste. Clearly they don’t know what they are talking about.

Sure, there is the possibility of cuts and scrapes on hazardous objects or the possibility that one may ‘accidently’ cause a fire of massive proportions that happens to be the coolest thing anyone has ever seen; but ultimately, there is a ton of junk that is thrown away that others would find to be junkalicious.

To rebut this point, CU police have recognized the drop-off centers that are scattered throughout campus for people to donate instead of throw things away. However, last time I checked freshmen in the dorms are not the most motivated people in the world and would most likely rather carry their furniture, old clothes, etc several feet to the dumpster outside of their building than carry it all across campus.

The argument stands that by creating this ban, things that could be reused are going to waste. Another irrefutable point is that CU police are worried about non-students getting into the dumpsters. AKA—they don’t want homeless people on campus rummaging through trash. It’s a good thing we are so giving and considerate of the needs of our community.

How ’bouts we put a separate dumpster that is for donation outside of the dorms that will later be dropped off at drop-off centers? Skip a step and still allow people to enjoy the stuff that others don’t want any more while avoiding health and security issues related to people dumpster diving. There’s an idea.

All I can say is that I hope that this ban doesn’t seep out into the rest of Boulder. Yes, it may be creepy to walk out to the dumpster with your trash and stumble upon a little man investigating the condition of a ripped T-shirt that was thrown away (not that this has ever happened to me), but at least someone is benefiting from someone else’s trash. To a lesser extreme, let’s think about all of the tables, chairs, and couches thrown away simply because people are too lazy to go to Salvation Army. What if we couldn’t take that stuff out, make a trip to a sterilizing center (I hope), and use it.

Bottom line: We live in Boulder and I believe there is a famous quote that many Boulderites live by that says, “reduce, reuse, recycle.” If this doesn’t optimize dumpster diving to a tee, then I don’t know what does. Perhaps instead of the “No Trespassing” signs, we were to say “Trespass at Your Own Risk and Please Don’t Start a Fire,” this whole issue could be avoided and we could continue to reap the benefits of getting free shit, even if it means we have to submerge ourselves in trash to get there.

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