Beauty And The Bin

Ladies, we can all recall a time when we’ve desperately wanted a new lipstick to go with that banging outfit we’re going to wear out on Friday night. Usually, we head to our local Sephora to scan the shelves and swatch creamy shades of red all up and down our arm, pretending we’re Kylie Jenner.

Hidden at the back of the store, however, is the perfect place: a treasure trove, in fact, and one that you would have never considered in your quest for that perfect shade………. THE DUMPSTER!

The recent inundation of YouTube videos showing scavengers searching for new makeup products has brought this new supply to my attention. These videos immediately intrigued me as they are usually filmed from waist deep in a dumpster. Crazy, I know, but dumpster diving for makeup is apparently a ‘thing’ now.

23-year old YouTuber, Shelbizleee, is leading the way for future divers with millions of views on videos and over 83K subscribers. The YouTuber uses social media platforms to teach viewers how to dumpster dive for makeup and encourages a zero waste journey influencing sustainable living. Her most viewed video is a dumpster diving haul worth over $2000. The influencer covers every aspect of the topic including live dumpster dives, sanitisation of the products and what to do if you ever get caught. The videos are flooded with comments and mixed opinions surrounding the controversial topic.

Over the past two years, this type of content has significantly increased in popularity, creating a flow on effect and acceptance of the trend. Forums, blogs and Facebook Live videos on this topic are posted daily. Individuals are searching for the best local dumpster to find these hidden gems and are willing to take enormous risks. Dumpster diving is like gambling, you never know what you’re going to get.

Now, I’m sure you’re wondering why you would ever consider getting into a dumpster for used and soiled makeup?

The more I researched into the underbelly of dumpsters, I noticed that there are three types of dumpster divers all with different reasoning: the money conscious, the environmentalist and the reseller.

The Money Conscious:

They say beauty comes at a cost, however, these divers are aiming to avoid just that! The Australian cosmetics industry is worth $22 billion, and Queensland is the vainest state with an annual spend on beauty of $989 per person. This is a staggering $19 a week that goes towards keeping up appearances. Due to the high price of cosmetics, these divers aim to cut corners and economise.

The Environmentalist:

These divers are trying their best to save our fragile planet one item at a time. With 20 million tonnes of garbage reaching landfill each year, it’s understandable that people are adapting to a zero-waste lifestyle. They see the reward of rescuing the makeup from landfill whilst living a happy and fulfilled life without the environmental cost.

The Reseller:

James Jugan cleaning his findings

Divers have quickly made this hobby into a money-making business by reselling their finds. Meet James Jugan, dumpster diving is his full-time job. Since 1978, Jugan has been getting down and dirty in dumpsters searching for products to re-sell. His biggest moneymaker, over the past years, has been from the cosmetic industry, describing it as having a ‘licence to print money.’

I know I’ll certainly be thinking twice before I make my next beauty purchases online……..
James claims to have made up to $250,000 a year through reselling. Who would have thought you could have a job revolving around rubbish?

Despite its rapidly growing popularity on the world wide web, what advocates fail to mention about dumpster diving are the hidden dangers of this trashy hobby.

Police recently caught two young girls rummaging through dumpsters, following the steps provided by their favourite YouTubers. While dumpster diving is not technically illegal, what these teens failed to understand is that they could have been arrested for trespassing. The police let them off with a warning but is garbage really worth the risk?

More importantly, dumpster diving can lead to serious health risks. Following the incident of the dumpster diving teens, Ulta, a major makeup retailer, released a statement clarifying that the items are unsafe for use.

“All products that are damaged, used, expired or otherwise unsaleable or unsuitable for donation are disposed of in accordance with applicable laws, rules and regulations. These products should never be retrieved or used.”

These products are often thrown out for valid reasons. Makeup that finds its way to the dumpsters are old, used and contaminated. Dermatologists have warned users that risks include itchy skin, red skin, inflamed skin and acne. Imagine how many different germy fingers had poked that lipstick you’ve just pulled from the dumpster. No thank you!

Whether you support the trend or believe it to be ludicrous, there’s no doubt that dumpster diving for makeup has received mixed opinions.

As Macklemore once put it “one man’s trash, that’s another man’s come up”….. Right?

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