There are several first time steps.
"But what would people think?" or "What if they see me digging into trash?" - society generally disgusts people who dig in trash. Step over that. There is too much value in the trash to let it to be wasted. If you walk back home with something new that you found, or with a lot of dumpster dived food that you can share with your friends coming over for dinner, doesn't it feel rewarding? Yes, it does.
There is a lot of trash out there. And a lot of useful trash. For many folks, the first time of trash recovery usually means picking up some furniture from the street. Stuff that is easily checked for utility and cleanliness.
The steps to find a place to dive
- Find a big shop you want something from (supermakets and bakeries are the easiest). Really big supermarkets bins are often hard to access, small groceries stores don't throw much - although all depends on a particular country you are in. The best idea is to aim for the middle.
- At night, when it's closed, go around it until you find the containers, often next to the loading dock, or at the back. Sometimes they are locked, in a fenced area or (the worse) locked inside the supermarket building. Up to you how far you want to go. Some dumpster divers having no possibility to dumpster dive in unlocked dumpsters in their area choose to unlock dumpsters by force; locked bin often just need a triangle key (in U.S.?).
- Dive in! Dig as deep as you can until you find stuff. The weight of a bag is a good indication. Food has weight, so if the bag is light just put it aside.
- Don't make a mess... nobody should be able to see you've been there. Clean after yourself, close all dumpsters, leave everything as it was before you came there. Respecting a place you dumpster dive in is a part of a conscious dumpster diving: if you make a mess every time you dumpster dive, if you rip bags and don't tie them back, it is more likely the place will soon put various barriers to get rid of messy scavenger-folks, or will change its strategy of disposing its old produce. Think about other people who come there to get their food from there - you don't want to screw up their routine and make it more difficult for them.
The first dive, by the way, might not bring anything - try different places on different days.
- Tip from Instructables - take a picture and dive in darkness later to lessen the social stigma
- Dumpster Dipping Instructable