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College Graduation Means Great Dumpster Diving

5/6/2011 12:00:00 AM

Tags: Dumpster diving, Boulder, Colorado

Robyn Griggs Lawrence thumbnailI’m only too aware that University of Colorado graduation is taking place this week, as I keep getting snarled up in graduation-event traffic here in Boulder. I welcome the reminder to visit Dumpsters and drive by university housing sites this weekend, though. You wouldn’t believe the stuff these college kids throw away as they leave town.

I know someone who combs through the discarded sofas lining the campus-area streets at this time of year and collects enough loose change to buy a really nice dinner. (She finds a lot of other things—not all of them legal—as well.) I’ve picked up tables, chairs and even a functioning vacuum cleaner during my scavenger hunts on the student area known as the Hill. This weekend I’ll cruise the Hill’s street early and often, as competition for this stuff can be fierce.

If you have a college in your town and aren’t averse to Dumpster diving, consider taking a trip to campus this week. In “College Move-Out Days: The Best Time to Dumpster Dive?” on Wise Bread today, senior editor Meg Favreau offers some great advice to enhance your hunting pleasure.

1. Some colleges donate (or sell) unwanted items. Call or do a Google search for the particular college you're planning to visit before you go. Several schools collect unwanted items and give them to charity or sell the items and donate the proceeds to charity. If this is the case, your hunting might not be as successful, but you could still pick up some good deals via the college.

2. Remember, this stuff belonged to college students. Carefully check everything you plan to take. Beware of bed bugs!

3. Go more than once. Check the college's academic calendar to find out when finals are, but also keep in mind that some students may leave early or stay late for graduation or other activities.

4. Be aware that colleges are usually private property. If you're not a student, never enter buildings to pick through items inside. Visit areas where trash is put out on public streets. Err on the side of caution. For more information about the law and Dumpster diving, read Kentin Waits' Wise Bread post, Dumpster Diving 101.

dumpster dive 

I wouldn't touch the mattress, but the sofa looks like it might hold promise. iStock photo 

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