$48.00 in Scrap, Dumpster Dinner on Grill

Today we drove our redneck reconstructed 1994 Dodge Ram pickup to recycle with metal, insulated copper, and cans. We received in cash:

sheet metal-shreddable, 220 lb@ 0.11/lb=24.20 (a Christmas tree, metal pipes from a construction site long box, some sort of a small but heavy iron stove found semi-buried in ground near our apartment that we got permission to dig up, underground pump from same site,  a vacuum cleaner, part of an iron, some tin cans and some discarded Dollar Store shelves).

Insulated copper, 16 lb @ 1.15/lb=18.40 (cords cut from above said stove and pump, iron and vacuum cord, a DSL blue cord, other cords on ground).

Aluminum cans, 9 lb @0.60/lb=5.40 (picked up from side of road during walks, and retrieved from various dumpsters around our apartment complex).

Total= $48.00

On the way home we swung by the grocery dumpster and got seven packages of center cut pork loin chops, three beefsteak tomatoes, two Cokes, two Orange Crushes and a Dr. Pepper, Vanilla Wafers, a brick of Havarti cheese, and two heads of cauliflower.

Put three quarts of oil and some gas in the truck, at 2.97/gallon, just before the price went up to 3.06/gallon.

At home we swung by a dumpster and picked up cooking oil, yeast, hot chocolate, baked beans,  seasonings, Crisco and ten pounds of flour.

It was almost time to fire up the grill. We froze three packages of pork loin chops, because they were ‘freeze or use by 2/19 and 2/25 and today is 2/15. The others needed to be cooked by today, which we did. While my husband was grilling, I prepared the dumpster salad: beefsteak tomatoes and sliced sweet onions with oil and balsamic vinegar drizzle, cracked pepper, dash of  salt, the steamed veggies: cauliflower and sliced red and yellow peppers with lemon juice and cracked pepper, and heated baked beans.

All of this was served on restaurant plates, (over-sized stone wear) from the dumpster, with flatwear from the dumpster, and festive napkins, also from the dumpster, drinks in glasses from the dumpster, and the veggies were cut with a really nice knife from the dumpster, while the beans were heated in a microwave also retrieved, brand new, from the dumpster.  Lunch, I might add, warm barbecue sandwiches on wheat with lettuce and tomato, was served on fine china, all from dumpsters as well.

I am stuffed, but we have Havarti cheese and fresh strawberries to fall back on for desert.

Metal prices today are:

Insulated copper (any cord that plugs into something): 1.15/lb. If you strip these wires, they bring 3.00/lb.

Sheet aluminum and aluminum cans: 0.60/lb.

Yellow brass: 1.45/lb

Stainless steel: 0.60/lb.

Sheet metal (see above, this is basically any scrap metal you can pick up): $220/ton

Cardboard: 60.00/ton

Talk to you all soon!




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6 responses to “$48.00 in Scrap, Dumpster Dinner on Grill

  1. Danny

    Hi Crane. Sorry for the public post, I didn’t see an email.

    I saw and enjoyed your post on Smirking Chimp. I help put out a free bi-weekly paper in Lexington, KY, and had hoped that I could interest you in publishing in our paper. Then I got on here and saw that you’re from Kentucky, so thought I’d definitely better ask. Our paper’s called North of Center. Here’s our web presence. (I used to post some of our nationally-inflected stories on the Chimp, but I’ve lost the time to do it. Some of our stuff is archived there, if you’re interested in looking.):


    I occasionally do a column called Building a Basil Economy, which sometimes veers into community survival skills. Your voice would be an awesome contribution to the paper. Let me know if you’d be interested.

    Danny Mayer

  2. Years ago in south Orange County, an Albertson’s supermarket got in trouble with the health department because they poured bleach, if memory serves me right, on the food they discarded in their dumpster.

    Just one of the many dirty tricks to look out for.

    Good luck and I like your blog.

    • Yes I have heard of this trick and I have experienced it’s ugly cousin: in one dumpster they actually poured fuel. Yes, I am not kidding. Lots of glass is common too. I wear clothes from dumpsters, always in anticipation of this happening. So far I have been lucky, and I have been doing it for a long time. Nothing would surprise me.

  3. I saw your blog today for the first time. Doing what you have to do is key. I had a book once, years ago, that was about living on almost nothing by dumpster diving, although I don’t think they called it that. I somehow, then as now can’t see myself doing it, but at the same time know I would if I had to. Hoping not to poison myself before I learned what’s good and what’s not. I noticed that neither of you is uneducated, and that’s what’s truly scary because it shows that being educated, contrary to popular belief, doesn’t really mean anything, economically or otherwise. I just moved from NY to Calif., and shortly after arriving my truck was stolen with most of what I owned that was worth anything, I’m trying to move past that, but I realize if things don’t change, I could very easily be shopping in dumpsters before long, and that’s scary too. Truthfully, I admire your positive attitude, your ability to think outside the box, and survive. I hope if it becomes necessary I do as well.

    • If you decide to dumpster dive, might I suggest the excellent article on WikiHow: How to Dumpster Dive, published October 23, 2010? Give it a quick read if you have not already. I have been diving for a long time and I still found their article informative. Also, there is a documantary online, made by some young folks (and BTW I am fifty) who dive in California, I believe, for food. Freegans also have a lot of information out there.

      And finally, Monday, Feb 21 2011 at 5 PM, Firedoglake.com will be showing the Oscar-nominated documentary WasteLand, with the Director on as a guest. Go to YouTube and watch the trailer (actually thanks for reminding me, I will put a link to the trailer on my blog site).

      You will not want to miss this.

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