Lars Eighner’s autobiography, “On Dumpster Diving,” details how he lost his state hospital attendant job in 1988 and ended up on the streets of Austin, Texas. The narrative centres on Eighner’s adventures looking for food in dumpsters.
When describing the things he discovered while dumpster diving, Lars Eighner goes into considerable detail. He talks on the mental processes involved in dumpster diving and how, although officially being over its expiration date, a lot of food that is still edible is thrown away. Along with food, he talks of the emotional toll living in a dumpster can take on a person. Sad things like “abandoned teddy bears, torn wedding books, and dogs lying in state” are some of the depressing things he finds. When he sees the animals, he is reminded of his dog Lizbeth and how she would probably die and spend her final days in a dumpster because Eighner can not see himself providing for her before she passes away. Scavenging makes Eighner reflect on how much society takes for granted, including the ability to purchase a new item to replace an outdated one that has been discarded. He regrets those who are deprived of such a pleasure.