A mum has revealed how she quit her full-time job to hunt for trash and sell it, after realising how much money she could earn a week.
A mother-of-four has revealed how she quit her full-time job to become a dumpster diver after discovering that she could earn $A1380-a-week selling items found in the trash.
Tiffany She’ree, 32, from the US, and her husband Daniel Roach, 38, met in September 2016. They both had kids from prior relationships – Kaylee, 17, and Blake, 8, from Daniel’s side, and Mia, 9, and Ruxton, 7, from Tiffany’s side – and have since merged into one big happy family.
Around the time that they met, Tiffany, from Dallas, saw a YouTube video of a group of girls out dumpster diving and decided she wanted to try it for herself.
After going out for the first time in January 2017 and finding a box of brand new makeup and skincare products worth around $US1200 ($A1650), she returned home to Daniel and showed him her haul.
The next night, they went out together to see what they could find and since then they haven’t stopped.
“I’d never heard of or thought about dumpster diving before I randomly saw a video on YouTube of these girls dumpster diving. When I saw the haul they came back with I knew I had to try it for myself,” Tiffany said.
For nearly five years, they’ve consistently rummaged through their dumpsters locally and further afield to do everything from house decoration to clothing themselves and their kids, as well as selling their valuable finds.
Just over a year ago, in 2020, Tiffany quit her job as a canteen sever to pursue dumpster diving full-time.
“Daniel and I went out diving together and since then it’s been consistent for almost five years now. A little over a year ago, I quit my job to do this full-time,” she said.
In America, dumpster diving was declared legal by the US Supreme Court in 1988 but in other countries, it’s a more murky practice and could be regarded as theft.
According to Greenpeace, it can be illegal in Australia – for instance if you were on private property without permission.
“Different councils and areas could have different rules and restrictions, so make sure to do your research if you’re dumpster diving and don’t want to break the law,” it said.
However, Tiffany said through dumpster diving, she’d been able to support herself entirely including paying her half of bills and living costs which come to around $US800 to $US1000 ($A1100 to $1380) a week.
“We’ve furnished at least 75 per cent of our house with dumpster finds, from couches to tables and chairs to décor and more,” she said.
Tiffany now runs a popular TikTok account, which boasts two million followers who eagerly await updates on her dumpsters “scores”.
“I had never heard of TikTok before and then the first video I posted on there just blew up and I immediately gained 50,000 followers,” she said.
“It went viral, so I just kept posting and inspired a lot of people to go dumpster diving.”
The mother-of-four targets dumpsters outside of big-name stores, which fill up the trash with items that have been discarded for a variety of reasons – from slightly damaged packaging to returns that cannot be re-sold due to store policies.
Her TikTok account documents hauls from companies like Victoria’s Secret, Bath & Body Works, Bed Bath & Beyond, Party City, and Ulta.
Among her more valuable finds in recent months are a $US750 ($A1000) coffee machine from Bed Bath & Beyond, and hundreds of dollars worth of unopened makeup products.
Many of her followers are keen to let her know how much she inspires them, and she regularly receives messages from people sharing their finds and telling her she’s inspired them to start diving too.
However, Tiffany does come under fire from some critics, who have accused her of being “homeless”, and have suggested that dumpster diving is the same as “stealing”.
But the mum-of-four regularly claps back at her trolls, pointing out that the items she is taking out of the dumpsters would likely have gone into landfill had she not “saved” them.
She also urges others not to judge a book by its cover, claiming that dumpster diving has unfairly been labelled as “nasty” or “dirty”.
Tiffany is also constantly surprised by the items she finds in the dumpsters, which range from homeware to beauty products to big-ticket tech items like televisions and kitchen appliances.
“So far in 2021 alone, I’ve saved at least $US3000 ($A4100) – in previous years, I was saving this across the whole year so 2021 has definitely been a better year.”
The legality of dumpster diving varies from country to country – in America, it was found to be legal by the US Supreme Court in 1988 whereas in England and Wales it may qualify as theft under the Theft Act of 1968.
Tiffany has had her TikTok videos removed by the platform multiple times for violating their community guidelines as they claim her videos include “illegal activities and unregulated goods”.
“I definitely still get negative comments but I think it’s 90 per cent positive nowadays,” Tiffany said.
“I’m happy that I’m saving items from landfills and doing my bit to help the environment and keep the planet clean.”