Former Chef Quits Job to Become "Dumpster Driver," Earns £16,000 in 6 Months

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Former Chef Quits Job to Become "Dumpster Driver," Earns £16,000 in 6 Months


Former chef April Smith, 35, was hesitant to quit her full-time job at first, according to Zoe Forsey of Reach pic-owned British news platform Mirror. But Smith took a leap of faith. Now, she is busy collecting people’s rubbish, claiming she has earned £16,000 in only six months ($20,000). Smith saved £3,250 ($4,070) on food bills and even obtained beauty and household products worth £16,250 ($20,353). She looked into giant supermarket dumpsters, transforming trash into treasure. Smith is completely hooked on her new job as a “dumpster diver,” although she gets withdrawals and anxiety if she skips one day. 

The 35-year-old comments, “I’m lucky because I live close to a tonne of stores, so I rarely drive more than 10 miles for a dive.” Initially, she was scared to go on her first drive, but she was able to net £812 ($1,017) worth of beauty products, adding that the items were marked down for clearance but not sold. Dumpster diving is not illegal in Illinois, Smith’s hometown. But so far, she has not encountered any problems even if the state’s authorities do not encourage it. 


Former chef April Smith / Photo by: PA Real Life via Mirror


“I think some people frown upon it, but I don't think I'm doing any harm and I haven't had any trouble, as I'm always discreet,” Smith notes. She dives every morning between 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. She also goes out on Sunday nights, as stores do their inventory on Monday. Some divers target IT stores, rummaging for iPhones, iPads, and laptops, but Smith chooses to hunt for beauty and household products. 


Smith on the dumpster / Photo by: PA Real Life via Mirror


She explains, “I have started to sell on some of the unspoilt beauty products I've rescued - packaging them up into a ‘mystery box’ of goodies.” Smith gives most of the items away, saying that she donated makeup from her first dive to a women’s shelter 20 miles away. Smith whips out gourmet meals from dumpster food given her experience as a chef. She expects the value of her food hauls to increase over the winter, as food will stay fresh for a longer period. Interestingly, the chef-turned-dumpster diver grew up in a “family that never wasted anything.” 

“It makes my soul sick when I see how much stuff people throw away, especially because I’ve visited countries where poverty is everywhere,” Smith expresses her disdain. Apparently, she does not fit into the cookiecutter mold of a dumpster diver, as she “dresses well and drives a decent car.”  Debunking people’s preconceptions of a dumpster diver, she laughs, “People think you have to be homeless and look disheveled to be a dumpster diver, but you don’t.”


Some of the things she got from the dumpster / Photo by: PA Real Life via Mirror




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