Everything You Need to Know About Dumpster Diving?

by | Jul 20, 2021 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

Dumpster diving is a phrase that initially surfaced back in the 1980s when rampant consumerism resulted in many things going into the dumpster. It wasn’t uncommon for people to throw away things that worked perfectly fine.

Over the years, dumpster diving has grown and shrunk in popularity. However, today the practice is known by different names like containering, curb shopping, totting, skipping etc.

Dumpster diving involves mainly salvaging what has been disposed of in large residential, commercial and industrial containers. The goal is to find something of value that wasn’t of value to the original owner for some reason. Some of the items can be good enough to be sold.
Dumpster diving isn’t limited to dumpsters; it can be anything from small heaps of household waste to dumpsters outside a factory. In other words, if there is a pile of trash somewhere, then there is an opportunity to find something of value.

What Items Are Considered Of Value?

Depending on the person, what is considered of value will vary. Generally, there are a few things that are considered of value such as:


It isn’t uncommon for people to dispose of food that’s perfectly fine to eat. The ones in cans are of most value. The best places to go dumpster diving for food are near restaurants and food markets.


Books and magazines

It is a common practice for booksellers to tear off the cover of books as poof they aren’t sold. The items will go into the trash. The same goes for books and magazines in department stores, offices etc. While you can read these items, they can’t be sold.


The average household in the US spends around $500 on school supplies or stationary. Dumpster diving can potentially save you a lot of money. Most people get rid of school supplies when the school year ends. Generally, these include notebooks, backpacks, pencils, erasers, etc.

In addition to the above, dumpster diving can help you find eWaste, computers, clothes, metal, and wooden items, much of which can be used or sold.

The Legal Aspect of Dumpster Diving

Since you always want to be on the right side of the law, it’s important to know if dumpster diving is legal. The problem with answering this question is that in some circumstances, it is legal, but in others, it may be deemed illegal.
A Supreme Court Ruling in 1988 concluded when items are thrown outside; it is part of the public domain. So technically, everything that’s discarded can be sorted through or accessed; if the dumpster is in a secure location, with a sign reading “No Trespassing,” then you’re breaking the law by diving into that dumpster! So, dumpster diving is not illegal unless it is on private property.


Some of the best places to go dumpster diving are near malls, schools, factories, warehouses etc. If anything, these are places where it may not be illegal to access the dumpster, and the odds are higher of finding things you can either use or sell for some extra cash.