In On Dumpster Diving, Lars Eighner tells the stories of his adventures as a homeless man diving into dumpsters and scavenging for what he defines as a necessity. Eighner started diving a year before he became homeless. During this year, the cost of rent devoured all his money and he was left to depend on others’ “junk” that he found in dumpsters. The author describes his life as a human scavenger with no resentment nor bitterness toward his unlucky state of poverty, but gears his essay toward lecturing the wealthy on the amount of waste they produce.
His essay made me realize that I take for granted my food, water, clothing, and shelter, and opened my eyes to the necessity of giving to those in need. His ability to find everything he needed food, entertainment, and clothing in a dumpster is a result of the wastefulness of people in our society. When I read this essay for the second time, I started realizing how many valuable things we throw away.
I notice, now, that the more you have the more you waste. People in our society take advantage of the abundance of food at our tables and clothing in our closets and carelessly throw away what we no longer want.
The author specifically describes a college dumpster as a good spot to discover things from food to furniture. He describes these dumpsters as rich, because the wealthy college students seem to have no true value for their wealth and see no reason to keep food past its expiration date. The author thoroughly describes how to decide what is trash and what is worth keeping. His perception of the worth of a week old yogurt is unlike anything I can ever imagine adapting, but his belief in conserving and saving what is still useful or edible is a valuable lesson to be learned.
He understands that you can’t possibly keep everything but recognizes how much waste is thrown out. He doesn’t allow himself to carry what he wants and only takes what he needs including food, blankets, and one electronic. Instead, he leaves what’s unnecessary to him for someone who needs it. In his final words, he equates himself with the very wealthy and states that they both know that there is more to gain. But he feels sorry for the wealthy who try, with all their might, to acquire all the wealth of the world; because he knows that is impossible.
The author made me realize the true meaning of sharing is giving to others what you don’t need, rather than what you don’t want. Eighner, in one paragraph, focuses on the waste that is produced by restaurants. In one example, he retells that one of his greatest finds was a dumpster behind a pizza place. Sadly, he reported that the pizza company started disposing their extra pizzas elsewhere because they realized someone was eating it. This brings up the issue of how selfish Americans are.
If you are willing to throw food, clothing, or anything away, then I do not see why you would deprive someone else of benefiting from it. If everything we own will eventually be thrown away, then why hold onto what we do not need? The pride and infatuation we take in our possessions has blinded us from the real issue of poverty and suffering in our world. We can take a stance and help those in need to rise out of the dumpsters and to stand on their own two feet as a member of society.
I believe that the things we do not need should be directly donated to a charity that benefits the homeless, because like Eighner not all of these men and women are uneducated, they are simply victims of bad luck and poverty. This essay greatly altered my perception of what is trash and what is worth keeping. The overflowing amount of waste that is produced in wealthy homes disgusts me. After reading this essay and keeping in the back of my mind the thought of a homeless man having to scavenge for just a bite to eat, I cringe at the sight of throwing away a half-eaten sandwich or yogurt, because after all, is it really trash?
Cite this On Dumpster Diving
On Dumpster Diving. (2018, Feb 28). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/on-dumpster-diving-2/