TikTok trend shows people dumpster-diving for couture products


TikTok users are getting dirty and fishing in dumpsters for exciting finds. 

Taylor Maerz

A new TikTok trend has people dumpster diving for high-end products. Dumpster divers have scored some seriously good finds for free – some damaged – but free!

High-end fashion brands like Coach, Burberry and Cartier and cosmetic brands like Sephora and Bath & Body Works have all been caught purposefully damaging and throwing away their returned and excess products to keep their merchandise exclusive and fresh.

The reason for destroying this merchandise is to keep it out of the hands of dumpster divers, but that has not stopped them.

TikTokers @thedumpsterdivinggirls and @thetrashwalker are known for searching for this so-called “garbage” in high-end brands’ dumpsters. They have found countless salvageable products that were thrown out.

@thetrashwalker has even gone as far as to repair slashed Coach bags that she has found in dumpsters.

In her TikTok holding a torn bag, she said, “This is what they do with unwanted merchandise. They order an employee to deliberately slash it so no one can use it, and then they write it off as a tax-write off under the same tax loophole as if it was accidentally destroyed.”

Oddly enough, Coach has a bag repair policy that states they will repair any bag that is damaged and needs fixed, their reasoning being to keep bags out of landfills and reduce their impact on the planet.

Bath and Body Works’ dumpsters are also a hub for high-quality merchandise. TikTok user @thedumpsterdivinggirls found thousands of Wallflower scent oils in a dumpster outside a Bath & Body Works storefront. There have also been unused candles found in their dumpsters just begging to be lit!

Sephora dumpster-divers have found expensive eyeshadow palettes, lipsticks and foundation bottles. One YouTuber, Dumpster Haulics, reportedly found over $7,500 worth of product in a Sephora dumpster. That’s a lot of makeup.

While it might seem like these companies are being wasteful, there is a reason. A lot of the motive behind the destruction is to keep consumers safe and happy.

Returned makeup cannot be resold due to the risk of contamination of bacteria or other germs that would pass on to the next buyer. In addition, it is not fair to resell a “used” or “not in perfect condition” purse at full price in-store.

Although not particularly the ideal way to shop, dumpster diving is technically legal.

“Dumpster diving is technically legal in all 50 states,” FindLaw said. “In 1988, there was a Supreme Court case that ruled searching trash is legal as long as it does not conflict with any city, county or state ordinances. So, when a trash bag is on the curb to be picked up by a waste removal company or your trashcan is waiting at the end of your driveway, it becomes “public domain,” and the Fourth Amendment no longer applies.”

The merchandise that is being thrown away serves the store no purpose anymore, so it is up for grabs for anyone willing to dig for it. Put your rubber gloves on and see what you can find!