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Maryland Mom Picks Up New Pandemic Hobby: Dumpster Diving

FREDERICK, Md. (WJZ) -- There's that saying, "one man's trash is another man's treasure." But, one Maryland mother is taken that old adage to another level by dumpster diving.

Many of us have taken up new hobbies during the pandemic. For Yarrow First-Hartling, her hobby gives her the best kind of adrenaline rush because there's nothing like finding free stuff.

It started at the beginning of the pandemic when her family was on lock-down.

"I was bored out of my mind, I needed to get outta the house and do something that I felt personally COVID-safe," First-Hartling said.

So, she went onto TikTok and found users like @dumpsterdivingmama and @jenn_nniffer -- two mothers posting about their finds in dumpsters, that received thousands of views and had others following in their footsteps.

For First-Hartling, the social media videos were a revelation, "dumpster diving videos saying look at all the stuff that stores are throwing away and it's completely free."

Now, she's a regular. Filling up her car with free finds like toilet paper or cans of La Croix. All things she can't let go to waste.

On Friday, we went out with her as she went dumpster diving in Frederick County where the county's spokesperson told WJZ it's legal to dumpster dive if the dumpsters aren't locked and there aren't any signs that say "NO TRESPASSING."

Behind one grocery store, Frist-Hartling held up a container of fresh mozzarella.

"It's little tiny mozzarella balls and it's still cold," she said. She was excited to take it home and enjoy it.

She said she enjoys many of the things she finds. She also gives stuff to her family or friends, but she's found so much stuff that she has a new rule, "either use it or find a home for it and after that it gets donated."

But it's the possibility of finding free stuff that keeps her coming back for more.

"The thrill, the rush, you never know what you're gonna find," she said.

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