I just read a wonderful book on essays from people who do extreme recycling and dumpster diving.

SO here is my question: have you ever taken anything out of a dumpster? How would you feel if you got 'caught'?

I will start: sometimes I grab recyclables from dumpsters and recycle them. Like if a ton of cardboard boxes are in there, or a bag of cans. Usually there is a recycling bin right there and all I have to do is take a second to move things a bit.

Sometimes I see actual goodies in there, which makes me feel confused. Like once I saw FOUR whole unopened bags of Wee Wee pads. Those things, for dogs, are not cheap. I looked around to see if anyone saw me and reached in and grabbed two of them. I figured I would grab the other two as I walked by next time, since i needed a stick to grab those.

Unfortunately, when I came back the other two bags were totally buried by a whole dump load of landscape waste. I still feel badly about this. If I had not let me pride get ahead of me I would have had two more bags of expensive wee wee pads, and also kept something useful out of the waste stream.

It is much easier to take things when people kindly leave them outside the dumpster (like RV lawn chairs - I have gotten about six really nice ones that way and many other useful things). But i feel embarrassed to actually reach in and root around.

I don't want to have to feel that way. I want to feel pleased to be helping the planet. Yet there is a stigma.

What do others do when you see nice things in and around dumpsters?