Understanding Dumpster Diving Laws

Dumpster diving, also referred to as binning or skip diving, is the process of salvaging waste in large residential, commercial, construction and industrial containers with the aim of finding valuable items that have been thrown away by their owners. It is quickly approaching mainstream in many areas across the world including what are considered to be considered to be the most affluent countries or states.

What Dumpster Diving in Law?

It refers to a legal practice that can help uncover a lot of valuable information from an adversary. There is a common belief among many people that this practice is always legal. However, this is not completely accurate because the laws are illegal in some states. One of the issues that affect the legality of this process involves trespassing laws. In the United States of America, the process is legal except in areas where it is prohibited by local regulation. When a person discards something, it is considered to be in the public domain. This is according to the California vs. Greenwood Supreme Court ruling in 1988.

Know Local Laws Before You Dumpster Dive

Since trash is not considered private in most jurisdictions, you will not be charged with theft when you dumpster dive. However, if you come from a municipality that has ordinances that prohibit this process, you may end up getting yourself on the wrong side of the law. In some states and countries across the world, the dumpster diving laws reflect a thinly disguised line of intolerance to the practice. You may end up breaking laws regarding invasion of privacy, trespassing, environmental or even theft in some cases.

Additionally, in most states, the police have “move on” powers that are usually brought to bear on dumpster divers. To be on the safe side, you should do due diligence and research the laws in your area before you go ahead to dumpster dive. It will be a good idea to call your local department to ask about the legality of diving laws.

What Would Happen If You Break Dumpster Diving Laws?

Most dumpsters are located on private premises, something that makes the chances of occasionally getting into trouble when you are dumpster diving very high. However, the law may be enforced with different degrees of rigor. There are some businesses that may lock their dumpsters to prevent you from accessing their property and vandalizing it. They might also lock out the dumpsters to limit the potential liability in case you get injured while you are on their assets. More often than not, dumpster diving is not prohibited by the law. Another principle of law that applies to collecting materials through dumpster diving is the abandonment of property.

Police Searches and Dumpster Diving

According to a private investigator in Oklahoma City, Police searches of waste that has been discarded and other similar methods are not considered to be violations. If evidence is seized in this manner, it can be used in many criminal trials. Many courts in the United States of America have affirmed this, including the Supreme Court. However, the doctrine is not well established when it comes to civil litigation. Companies that are managed by private investigators that specialize in such techniques have sprouted because of the need for safe and undetectable retrieval of documents as well as evidence that can prove useful in both civil and criminal trials.

Network With Other Dumpster Divers Can Help

When you decide to get into dumpster diving, you will meet some divers that may be friendly and helpful. If you share tips and experiences with them, you may in return be able to get some advice that will help you become better at this practice. You should also make a point of joining local clubs or online dumpster diving forums. There you can find people that can keep a look on what you want.

To be successful dumpster diver, it is imperative that you plan the process according to what you are looking for. If all you are doing is looking for unexpected treasures, you have the freedom to find them anywhere as long as you are not breaking the law. But if you are looking for a particular item, for instance, food, you should consider searching behind bakeries or grocery stores. Dumpster diving tips that you will find online can help you know the where to go in your area if you are looking for specific items.