Talk:Dumpster diving

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I read in an article that antique dealers in New York look for finds in the trash people put out when they move. Because the appartments are so small you can't keep anything som they often find designer stuff from the 1950s and 1960s. // Liftarn


added this template:

hope thats ok

Merger proposal[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
The result of this discussion was to not merge. DA Sonnenfeld (talk) 10:27, 22 April 2015 (UTC)

I propose that Waste picker be merged into Garbage picking. I think that the content in the first article can easily be explained in the context of Garbage picking, as one is an agent and the other is the practice. The overlap is huge, maybe some slight broader meaning in the second but really. It'd make a stronger article combined. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 20:06, 31 March 2015 (UTC)


  1. obviously Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 20:11, 31 March 2015 (UTC)


  • First, I've got to ask who structured this merger proposal discussion with sub-sections to 'edit' for voting. I've never seen it done this way compared to any other such vote, and I think it may be a barrier to participation, as well as a reduction in the way people typically express the strength of their opposition or support. It also reduces or eliminates the ability to have a threaded discussion. As far as the suggestion goes, I understand the concept here, but what is being missed is that waste picker is a job or category of jobs, whereas garbage picking is usually a hobby. It would make more sense to look into combining waste picker with rag-and-bone man, Junk man, Karang guni, although there may be good reasons to keep some of those as independent articles too. Centerone (talk) 00:45, 1 April 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose – The topics are different enough to warrant separate articles. Also both articles are of decent length, and combining them would create one very large article. North America1000 01:30, 1 April 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose as per NorthAmerica1000. smileguy91talk - contribs 03:07, 1 April 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose as per NorthAmerica1000. However, we may connect the articles with words and hyperlinks. Qwertyxp2000 (talk) 04:21, 1 April 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose two different things. Waste picking is salvaging of waste materials for personal use while garbage picking is a/an government/industrial procedure.--Chamith (talk) 04:59, 3 April 2015 (UTC)
I appreciate your oppose, ChamithN, but you got your facts wrong as to the nature of garbage picking and waste picker. Centerone (talk) 08:26, 3 April 2015 (UTC)
@Centerone:, perhaps you are right. Though over where I live garbage picking is done by the government. However I still do oppose the merge as per Northamerica1000's points.--Chamith (talk) 16:29, 3 April 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose per NorthAmerica1000, Suggest someone closes this seeing as it's not gonna happen. –Davey2010Talk 16:33, 3 April 2015 (UTC)


  • Size of both articles allows us to merge to make an article that is not too big overall. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 20:11, 31 March 2015 (UTC)
  • In the Waste picker article, where shall we put the differences between waste picking and garbage picking? Qwertyxp2000 (talk) 09:12, 3 April 2015 (UTC)
  • I feel that the article should have a few information about waste picking but not fully merge the article. Qwertyxp2000 (talk) 21:43, 4 April 2015 (UTC)

The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

Pro and con list[edit]

This article's pros and cons section strikes to me as very poor formatting - jumping from the Zabbaleen of Egypt keeping the streets clean to UK cookery books on expired food within a single subsection - and the WP:PROCON lists' cardinal sin: unresolved WP:NPOV issues. One man's pro is another man's con, and taking sides is not encyclopedic writing. Also, removing bullet points hardly hides the fact that it's a list rather than WP:PROSE.

Reading through the section, there are lines of thought that can be organized better than this fragmentary and confused form: sociological aspects, environmental aspects, legal aspects (which has it's section already), by country (though listing by country hardly makes more sense) etc. Finnusertop (talk | guestbook | contribs) 22:32, 1 April 2015 (UTC)

  • Check out the format a few years ago before it was "improved". Septagram (talk) 04:15, 3 April 2015 (UTC)
  • The pro and con list format has been reformatted into prose within the article, and much additional content in the article has been reorganized. North America1000 06:13, 3 April 2015 (UTC)
👍 Like Finnusertop (talk | guestbook | contribs) 03:05, 4 April 2015 (UTC)

Garbage Picking to Dumpster Diving Move/rename should be reverted.[edit]

Uhmmm, okay, so you just did a move/rename without any discussion? SERIOUSLY??! Uhm, okay let me tell you why (besides lack of consensus) that was a bad idea. First, dumpster diving is AS THE ARTICLE STATES is called different things in different countries. Dumpster Diving is a (mostly) US centric term. Secondly and MORE importantly. Garbage picking covers going through trash in a lot more situations than just in dumpsters! Less importantly, but still important is the fact that dumpster while commonly used is basically a genericized trademark. I don't know if someone still owns the trademark, but other companies may call their large commercial trash receptacles different things. Uhm, perhaps you should revert your move. Centerone (talk) 00:12, 17 August 2015 (UTC)

@Centerone: The article refers to dumpster diving throughout. Then I did a google trends comparison. After that I was 100% convinced was the right choice so I was bold and did it. The term doesn't appear to literally refer to dumpsters, but the generic process of going through bins for some reason or other. Je ne regret rian Deku-shrub (talk) 00:26, 17 August 2015 (UTC)
Sounds like you are claiming willful ignorance. Centerone (talk) 00:35, 17 August 2015 (UTC)
Not at all, I performed imperial research, proof read the article and followed Wikipedia's policies. Hit me with a decent rebuttal and we can kick this through Wikipedia:Requested moves Deku-shrub (talk) 00:50, 17 August 2015 (UTC)
I haven't tracked the language use in the article, it is the case that people in the article have mistakenly over-used the term dumpster diving incorrectly when they are sometimes talking about other things. That being said, this article references and is about a whole lot more than just picking items out of dumpsters. The term does literally refer to dumpsters. Just because some people are vague or loose in their usage of language, does not mean that it's not a specific term, and clearly the over-use and incorrect use of the term in the article needs to be fixed. Dumpster diving and garbage picking or trash picking is NOT the same thing. It's like the ship and a boat argument. All ships are boats but not all boats are ships. "_Garbage picking_ is the practice of sifting through commercial _OR_ residential waste to find items that have been discarded by their owners, but that may prove useful to the _garbage picker_." That is, all waste sources. Not all waste is found in dumpsters. Not all trash receptacles are called dumpsters or are even sized or look like dumpsters, and the term is a US centric term anyways, as well referenced in the article. Performers of these actions do not all go in dumpsters. Karung guni go door to door, Zabaleen collect trash from individual residents in standard trashbags then take the stuff elsewhere to sort. Rag-and-bone men collected specific items from individuals and businesses. Gleaners collect agricultural waste and detreitus from fields. "Artists often use discarded materials retrieved from _trash receptacles_ to create works of found art or assemblage." Garbologists go through all sources of waste. Private investigators do too. California vs. Greenwood (the case referenced in regards to trash picking was about trash left outside the home, on the curb, NOT in a dumpster. Police frequently can go through _household_ curbside waste to catch criminals (that's what CvG was basically about.) There are many more references and mentions in the article which can be pulled out, but I think that's enough. Centerone (talk) 22:53, 29 August 2015 (UTC)
Dumpster diving is used in such a way to mean to sift through any type of rubbish container, regardless of the brand or shape of said container Deku-shrub (talk) 22:56, 29 August 2015 (UTC)
That's your opinion of the use of language. It's neither accurate or true to real world examples as well as references made in this very article! Centerone (talk) 00:32, 30 August 2015 (UTC)
Here are some sources: - "the act of recovering, for any purpose, discarded items that would otherwise be sent to a landfill"
collins "the practice of searching through dustbins for discarded but still usable or valuable objects such as food or clothes"
Urban dictionary Dumpster diving is looking for treasure in someone else's trash.
OED "To search through a rubbish container (especially a dumpster or skip) for food, items of value, etc." "the practice of foraging in garbage that has been put out on the street in dumpsters, garbage cans, etc., for discarded items that may still be valuable, useful, or fixable."
I've not found a single definition which makes the case that the term is exclusively applicable to looking through a specifically sized or shaped container Deku-shrub (talk) 14:07, 30 August 2015 (UTC)
The two reliable sources there both specifically mention dumpsters or skips. We could find similar sources for the definition of ships, but that doesn't make it right or accurate. While the use of dumpster diving may be more loosely defined, it simply does not cover _all_ aspects of garbage picking. Garbage picking is the all-inclusive term. It's not the same thing as dumpster diving. Dumpster diving as a term simply does not cover all the aspects of what all the people who do this stuff who have already been mentioned do. It is NOT dumpster diving when the Zabaleen and the Karang guni go door to door collecting bags of waste, it's not dumpster diving when a garbologist collects a few weeks of a household's trash in order to study what the public throws out and how they live, it's not dumpster diving when the police or a private investigator goes through a drug dealer's curbside trashcan, it's not dumpster diving when an artist collects the remains of a garage cleanout, or any of many varieties of sources of waste in order to make art, it's not dumpster diving when someone goes to the town dump or landfill and brings back useful materials. People simply picking up furniture or useful stuff from the side of the road on trash day would typically not say they went dumpster diving. Besides the fact that a few of your sources do mention dumpsters, you also edited the quote from one of your sources in a way that left out that they were indeed talking about dumpsters. Urban dictionary: "Dumpster diving is looking for treasure in someone else's trash. (A dumpster is a large trash container.)" - you left out the part that explains what they were talking about. Second definition there: "Actively searching through trash in commercial or residential DUMPSTERS to find discarded but usable items;" The term dumpster diving simply does _not_ cover so many different aspects of what is discussed and covered in this article. Is it a common term that is used to discuss one activity of waste recovery by the average person? Yes, of course. But it simply does not cover all practices, methods, situations, or sources of waste and materials. It is not an appropriate title for this article. Centerone (talk) 20:36, 30 August 2015 (UTC)
Why not ensure the extended use definitions have their own section then? Deku-shrub (talk) 23:04, 30 August 2015 (UTC)
What.... exactly do you mean by that? Centerone (talk) 23:10, 30 August 2015 (UTC)
We disagree about the scope of this article. I feel the new name can encompass everything, you feel this excludes certain definitions. Why not leave the core definitions as-is, create a separate section on 'waste-picking' which covers activities not traditionally covered by dumpster diving? That way you don't have to worry about content being excluded from the article by the new name? Deku-shrub (talk) 23:23, 30 August 2015 (UTC)
The article ALREADY encompasses everything, the new name doesn't. I wouldn't and shouldn't have to "worry" if you would simply revert the renaming move you made in the first place. The fact that you demand a "decent rebuttal" yet refuse to acknowledge the clear examples presented, or even debate me on the specific points is an issue. Dumpster diving is a subset of garbage picking, garbage picking is not a subset of dumpster diving, gleaning is not a subset of dumpster diving, the organized waste collection and sorting by the zabaleen, the karaguni, rag and bone men are not subsets of dumpster diving, California vs. Greenwood does not specifically apply to dumpster diving, but rather to all garbage picking, etc. etc. etc. Furthermore, I don't and shouldn't have to create a "separate section" on 'other things' because the article is already about them! I don't disagree about the scope of the article. I disagree about your belief of the application of a term to things that it clearly does not apply to! It sounds like you're acknowledging that the term is infact exclusionary, otherwise you wouldn't suggest a separate section which shouldn't be necessary in the first place! Centerone (talk) 23:57, 30 August 2015 (UTC)
Are you going to move the actual page name or not? Deku-shrub (talk) 11:29, 31 August 2015 (UTC)
As far as I know, I do not have the ability to do that. (I tried to undo your move but I couldn't.) I don't know if that is because you can't undo such a move or what. I've never done a page move before. Centerone (talk) 17:08, 31 August 2015 (UTC)

Requested move 31 August 2015[edit]

The following is a closed discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: Move. We have a rough consensus that the proposed name is the common one. Cúchullain t/c 15:23, 17 September 2015 (UTC)

Garbage pickingDumpster diving – As per discussions, I think this is a more common name and best represents the article Deku-shrub (talk) 17:43, 31 August 2015 (UTC) Relisted. Jenks24 (talk) 07:28, 8 September 2015 (UTC)

  • STRONGLY OPPOSE As per discussions. This is not a common name for the activity, it's a subset activity. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Centerone (talkcontribs) 19:04, 31 August 2015‎
  • Support - as it stands the article is entirely about the subject of diving in dumpsters in US and European cities, with the exception of one short paragraph in "Performers" which links to several related articles (karung guni, zabbaleen, rag and bone man, waste picker, junk man, gleaning). We're not doing the reader any favours by presenting the article as being about the general practice of "garbage picking", when it's not. Would suggest that garbage picking becomes a disambiguation page linking here, and to the related articles. --McGeddon (talk) 18:37, 31 August 2015 (UTC)
And per my comments below, "dumpster diving" seems a well-understood term used across the US, UK and Australia, while "garbage picking" appears unknown outside the US (possibly because "litter picking" means "picking up litter and disposing of it" in the UK and Australia). --McGeddon (talk) 07:56, 10 September 2015 (UTC)
  • Support. The phrase "garbage picking" sounds more like a phrase used to represent a form of service involving picking up and removing pieces of litter on roadsides. Steel1943 (talk) 20:35, 31 August 2015 (UTC)
  • Support This isn't about employees employed to pick through and sort garbage at a waste processing facility; rather it's about the more general salvaging from trash, not specifically about the paid employment. -- (talk) 04:29, 1 September 2015 (UTC)
I'm confused by your reasoning. Can you better explain why you think the term needs to be about paid employment? Or why it needs to be at a "waste processing facility"? Or why you think it isn't? There are several examples in the article as to how people are earning their living doing this, or at very least are subsisting based on the materials they salvage. Centerone (talk) 05:37, 10 September 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Centerone and per WP:ENGVAR - The article states and I quote "the practice is called dumpster diving in American English in the US" - So thus only the yanks use "Dumpster Diving" and the rest of the world use different terms, Everyone more or less would know Garbage and one would (or should) come to the conclusion that picking could either mean picking from the road or bins/skips ...., I appreciate because of British English and American English there's always going to be issues with these but IMHO Garbage Picking seems neutral/balanced here, Personally I think the article should never have been moved and per ENGVAR it shouldn't be moved now. –Davey2010Talk 17:02, 2 September 2015 (UTC)
  • @Davey2010: Seems as though you have a quite valid systemic bias concern. Do you have an alternate option of what to name this article than its current title or its proposed title, at least to remove the ambiguity from the current title? Steel1943 (talk) 17:13, 2 September 2015 (UTC)
Afraid not, I thought "Garbage" was already an american word and assumed "Picking" is a worldwide term so kinda assumed Garbage Picking was fine, I too a point agree it should be moved but to a name that's more neutral which atm I'd have no idea what the could be, (On second thoughts and as I said above I think Garbage Picking is the best title here) –Davey2010Talk 17:29, 2 September 2015 (UTC)
  • If anything, "garbage picking" actually seems to be more of an Americanism; plugging the phrase into a search of UK and Australian news sites returns literally zero results, while "dumpster diving" returns plenty. (In the UK, the similar term "litter picking" refers to the collection and disposal of litter from an area, so the title "garbage picking" may be actively confusing to UK readers in addition to being US-centric.) --McGeddon (talk) 09:22, 3 September 2015 (UTC)
What about "trash picking"? Oh, wait, you're talking about news sites only.Centerone (talk) 12:58, 3 September 2015 (UTC)
Is there a problem in my doing that? Searching prominent news websites seems like an easy way to compare how terms are used in reliable sources on a country-by-country basis. --McGeddon (talk) 13:09, 3 September 2015 (UTC)
What do you call your trash in the UK? Do you not have garbage? I don't know, I just did a UK search and I got a bunch of hits. I'm trying to sort through to figure out which are just re-branded US .com's, but this was near the top: Centerone (talk) 13:17, 3 September 2015 (UTC)
The UK generally uses the term "rubbish". has two articles that use the term "garbage picking": the one you link (which uses the term in the URL and body, but has - perhaps significantly - swapped it out for "rubbish picking" in the actual headline) and one about New York dumpster divers which uses "garbage picking" once and "dumpster diving" fifteen times.
Against those two articles are maybe 150 on the same site that use "dumpster diving" instead. --McGeddon (talk) 13:36, 3 September 2015 (UTC)
Searching I get a ton of articles where either the term "garbage picking" or "picking garbage" is used in a way to describe people surviving by pulling useful products out of the trash. I tried searching for dumpster diving, skip diving, and skipping, and I get next to nothing that seems appropriate. Centerone (talk) 13:44, 3 September 2015 (UTC)
Looks like that's a historical archive that doesn't go much beyond 1950. Adding quotemarks around the search term, I can't see a single story in there that uses the words "garbage picking" to describe an activity - only sentence fragments ("...upon heath and garbage, picking up a stray leaf..."). --McGeddon (talk) 13:58, 3 September 2015 (UTC)
  • Comment I was initially going to support the move believing that Dumpster diving is the common word. However, when I did a Google search, Dumpster drive only got 883,000 hits while Garbage picking got 1,340,000 hits. Thus, this request (based on WP:COMMONNAME), IMHO, is contradicted until this is proven wrong. -- Chamith (talk) 17:43, 2 September 2015 (UTC)
My methodology produces this Deku-shrub (talk) 19:28, 2 September 2015 (UTC)
That's more than enough to nullify my comment. I will back up my !vote for now as I want to know what Centerone meant by saying it's a subset activity. Because a move has to be precise. In my experience however, Dumpster diving is same as Garbage picking. -- Chamith (talk) 00:38, 3 September 2015 (UTC)
Look, I'm not at all debating it's a popular term. I will concede that all day every day that it is a popular phrase. That being said, my point is that it's NOT a common name for 'garbage picking', because it's not a name for the same thing as garbage picking. It is one form of garbage picking, but the article covers many more forms that, even with a loose definition of dumpster diving, cannot in any way be seen as or called dumpster diving. It's a ship and a boat. Dumpster diving is garbage picking, but garbage picking is not dumpster diving. I've already laid out all the current examples in the discussion above. I don't know what else needs to be clarified. Centerone (talk) 00:48, 3 September 2015 (UTC)
COMMENT I didn't comment when I initially voted because I figured everybody would read the discussion above.. My key position is that dumpster diving is simply not a replacement term for garbage picking; it's not a common name because it's simply not the same thing. You can get caught up in the numbers of when and where the terms are used, in how one term is more popular than another, but it's pointless because it's not the same thing. Someone brought up precise but I don't think it's accurate to say that it's "too precise" as discussed in that wikipedia policy because in several ways it's actually exclusionary of several topics covered by the article, or maybe that is what they mean. Could it use a new name? Maybe; I personally use the term "trash picking" more commonly, but that new name should not be dumpster diving for all the reasons I already stated. Centerone (talk) 03:08, 4 September 2015 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

Legal Status Section Rewrite[edit]

Just a note that I believe the legal status section should be rewritten so that it is more clear and organized. I think it should probably be laid out in such a way as to list how it is legal in many countries, the various potential legal concerns (legal arguments for and against), and then country by country (or more regional) references. Legalities of garbage picking may vary by areas as small as cities and towns. It also may vary based on the type of and location of receptacle. Different rules may apply to standard household trash containers vs. commercial containers, for general waste containers vs. specialized collection such as recyclables, etc. Centerone (talk) 19:49, 31 August 2015 (UTC)