Dump­ster div­ing

CLEO (Singapore) - - BEAUTY -

Yes, look­ing through trash is dirty work, but it can also be very re­ward­ing. We talk to Xin Yi, 25, to find out how she got into the prac­tice, and the good that has come from it. I first started dump­ster div­ing in April 2017. My first ‘hunt’ was with a group led by Daniel, and I now do it about once or twice a week. I ad­mit it’s dirty work be­cause there’s ac­tual rub­bish thrown, and I’ve en­coun­tered rats, cock­roaches, in­sects and even the oc­ca­sional di­a­per. If I see a rat or cock­roach scut­tling around, I back off im­me­di­ately. If I can smell the bin while walk­ing to­wards it, I back off too. The ex­tent of the filth ac­tu­ally de­pends on the area you’re div­ing in. For ex­am­ple, if you’re do­ing a veg­gie hunt in busy ur­ban ar­eas, you’ll some­times come across de­com­pos­ing veg­gies and slimy stuff. But in res­i­den­tial ar­eas, the dump­sters are pretty clean thanks to the town coun­cil clean­ers.

Most of the time, the clothes I find are in pretty good con­di­tion. They’re per­fectly wear­able af­ter a good wash and steam. I’ve found pretty new shoes from brands like Con­verse, Charles & Keith, and Gucci. I’ve also found a Pan­dora bracelet and ac­ces­sories from He­len and Lo­visa with the tags still on. I once even picked up a scratch-free HTC But­ter­fly phone. If I find stuff I don’t want, I give them away on the Free­good app.

Yes, peo­ple gawk, and I used to feel very self­con­scious. But now I just ig­nore them and do my own thing. I feel more com­fort­able in trios, but I usu­ally dive alone or with just one friend.

A lot of peo­ple claim to do it to save the earth, which is great, but I do it be­cause I want to re­duce my own waste and save money. There’s noth­ing bad or un­cool about want­ing to re­duce waste and pro­vide a new lease of life for items that are still usable or con­sum­able. You know what’s un­cool? Com­plain­ing about be­ing broke be­cause you ‘need’ Star­bucks cof­fee every morn­ing.

I’m not a purist – I still spend money every now and then. How­ever, I’ve def­i­nitely cut down on my ex­penses. I have al­most ev­ery­thing I need and don’t need to spend much more, which is great be­cause my boyfriend and I are sav­ing up for a place. Un­for­tu­nately, I can’t dump­ster dive for an HDB flat… but we shall see.”

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