How this couple makes up to $4,000 a month dumpster diving
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Erin and Dave Sheffield of Buffalo, New York, met dumpster diving at the University at Buffalo around 13 years ago.
“I was looking through a roll off dumpster that was outside of the building,” Dave said.
Erin recognized the fellow dumpster diver right away and jokingly asked what he was doing. Dave gave Erin a ride to the next dumpster, they exchanged numbers, “and the rest is history,” Dave said.
“When people ask us what’s the best thing you ever found in the dumpster, I always say it’s my husband,” Erin said.
The Sheffields go dumpster diving together a few times a week, and Dave often stops at dumpsters on his way to or from work.
“We’ve kind of taken it to the next level the last few years,” he said. “We can make $1,000 to $3,000 or $4,000 a month.”
They find and sell everything from “obscure machine parts” to new tires or helmets. They’ll also often give things to friends or neighbors for free.
On an October evening, the Sheffields went through some dumpsters outside a Buffalo shopping center that includes an office supply store. They found calendars and an office mat that they took home.
“Anything that they sell in the store, you might find in this dumpster,” Dave said. “It could be ink cartridges, paper. I’ve found desk chairs and put them together and then sold them on Facebook Marketplace for $80 or $100.”
Erin noted that with high inflation, people are looking for deals even more than usual. “That drives more business to us because we can sell [what we find] at a lower price.”
The couple both work full-time jobs, and they save the money they make from dumpster diving. They’ve spent it on vacations and a boat.
“Right now, we’re looking to save up from dumpster diving because we want to convert a room downstairs into a bathroom,” Erin said. “We might splurge a little bit by putting a steam shower in,” Dave added. “It’s nice in these cold Buffalo winters.”
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