Design Experiment

By Posted in - FrontPage on June 2nd, 2013 13 Comments

The Dumpster Project is a design experiment. We are using an open-ended, iterative process to convert the dumpster into a home. We’re not sure we will ever get to the ultimate dumpster, but we’re still working towards that goal.

Where are we now? Over the course of the year, the dumpster was renovated inside and out as we started our investigations. We gained 10% in floor space when we added a false floor, 33 to 36 square feet is ndumpster ultimate studio exterior credit jeff wilsonothing to sneeze at – plus storage to boot! We wired up the Dumpster with sensors with our nearly real-time streaming weather station (check it out here), and we had to lose the pop-top for a sliding roof model as we fixed some pesky leak issues. We added air-conditioning after six months when we plugged the dumpster into the grid. We’ve been monitoring energy usage every since, and hope to take the dumpster off-the-grid soon, or at least mostly off the grid, with solar.

Still to figure out is how to get most of the amenities of a standard American home (shower, toilet, kitchen) to the dumpster in a sustainable way. We’re figuring out how to retrofit a dumpster and turn it into a modern dwelling space, and we’ll keep plugging away.

By converting a dumpster into a home, we are experimenting with innovative ways to live with less, and giving environmental education an engaging platform. We hope to project will engage the next generation in creative thinking about the important topics of sustainability and science education.

(13) awesome folk have had something to say...


    March 26, 2014 at 6:32 pm

    […] absolutely crazy! But, you know what? I am convinced they are right. Let’s turn poop into gas, a trash can into a new home. It’s gonna be a great story for the grands […]

  • charlie -

    March 10, 2014 at 10:06 pm earlier today i had the pleasure of meeting professor dumpster….a brilliant idea that has to come to pass…and not just for the homeless….people need to realize we are wiping out mother earth with condos, strip malls, and the worst of all ,,imoho…the car,,,,,how much do we really need to be happy?,,,i have always been a minimalist…..looking forward to learning more about this project and happy to donate my time and skills….and now if you will excuse me, I’m going for a walk..and I’m gonna walk to get to my walk!!… personal attack on the ones who DRIVE to work out…ha ha ha ahaha..sorry…

  • Samia -

    February 28, 2014 at 7:48 pm

    Love the idea and effort to live in a small space. Would love to show to my kids and myself as well, can we come visit?

    • admin -

      February 28, 2014 at 8:01 pm

      We love giving Dumpster tours! Weekly Dumpster open house hours are Tuesday from 10-10:30am and Thursdays from 4-4:30pm. Just email us at to let us know you are coming our way!

  • Kathy Toohey -

    October 23, 2013 at 1:15 am

    I can not wait to hear of your experience while living in a dumpster. Good for you. Please keep the public up to date with your living arrangement. How wonderful you are doing this!!!!!!!

    • admin -

      October 23, 2013 at 8:16 pm

      Hi Kathy! We so appreciate your support. If you connect with us on The Dumpster Project Facebook page you’ll be in the know with all of the latest dumpster news. It’s gonna get interesting!

  • Jenny Chang -

    October 20, 2013 at 8:57 am

    I love it.

    It’s not about where you live, but if it feels like home.

    Is your project going to go overseas to Australia ? The Australians are a bit more eco-conscious than Americans.

    I’m an American and am living in Australia and feel this.

  • Irene Brady -

    October 11, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    Just curious ~ is it high enough to stand up in? How tall is it? And what do you plan to do about the “bathroom”?

    • admin -

      October 23, 2013 at 8:15 pm

      The dumpster is tall enough to stand up in. It’s about 8 feet tall, 5 feet wide and 6 feet tall.

      As far as the bathroom goes, we’re going to test a variety of solutions, including a bucket and sawdust. Eventually we’ll upgrade to higher-tech and more sustainable solutions. The main key is low water use!

  • […] alter-ego is now Professor Dumpster, and his experiment in low-impact living will not just be a personal statement, but will also serve […]

  • […] the first phrase of the project, Wilson will be what he calls "Dumpster camping," living in an empty shell, curled in a sleeping bag on the floor. Then he and […]

  • Darin -

    August 13, 2013 at 7:36 pm

    Love It. Want one. How Much????? DD