photo by Teri Bernstein This snack display is actually a "find" from the "dorm-ster diving" outing of my younger daughter and her friends in Davis, California. The situation? Students moving out of the dormitories at the end of the school year often find it easier to discard items in the dumpsters behind their dorms than to move them home or ship them home. Others, who might call themselves " freegans ," take advantage of others' willingness to discard usable goods. My younger daughter, who just graduated from Davis in Sustainable Agriculture, is one of these "freegans." Their motivation is more sustainability-based than need-based, but their actions still have a minor impact on the economy. My daughter and her housemates have some rules for "dorm-ster" diving: Only inspect goods in sealed plastic bags. Unopened items within the sealed plastic bags are the best. Items that still have price tags or gift boxes are also top picks. Cleaning supplies--usually unopened--have very high cost/benefit. Shampoo, conditioner, and other health and beauty aids in plastic screw-top containers are a good bet. Always wear plastic gloves, boots, and bring plenty of hand sanitizer. Some of the items retrieved from this Spring's dumpster-diving included unworn shoes, 2013 calendars, laundry detergent, toilet bowl cleaner, packs of sponges, packs of pens, packs of pencils, at least 15 unused spiral notebooks still in plastic, a leather briefcase, books worth over $1000, sealed packs of trail mix and almonds from Trader Joe's, and several sealed boxes of packaged snack foods, such as those pictured above. I recognize the snack foods pictured above, because the University of California at Davis encouraged me, as a dorm parent a few years ago, to send my daughter an "exam week rescue pack." These were the contents. Hmmm... Sources: " Survival Guide to Dumpster Diving ," by Bill Maher, YouTube, May 31, 2013. " All in a Day's Dumpster Dive ," by Rebecca et. al., NBCnews.com, June 19, 2013. Follow up: Google "hippie Christmas" and "freegan". What "meetup" events are in your neighborhood? Why does Rebecca dumpster-dive? (NBC video) What does this say about the economic conditions of the lower-middle-class? Would you ever dumpster dive? Why or why not? Is dumpster-diving a good thing or not? Is it legal? Is it ethical? Estimate the "profit" from dumpster diving for one hour, based on the list of found items above. Factor in the time that would be spent re-selling items, if you wish. What is the "hourly wage" of these dumpster divers?