Question by Am: Why is dumpster diving illegal (in the USA), when our consumerism wastes so much good stuff?
Ok besides the @ssholes who go into it for information gathering to rip off people (like ID theft), the other side of dumpster diving is for free stuff even eatable food. I will admit that a lot of people throw away working computers by sitting them beside the trash been so it only makes sense that someone re-uses them instead of sending the toxic materials to go in a junk yard.
Answer by bombhaus
Typically in many states the trash is sorted at some large facility. It doesn’t just go from dumpster to landfill without anyone having a look in between those steps. Much of the material is often recycled. I know for a fact that many computer and electronic components are recycled for the sole purpose of reclaiming the small amount of gold used in the transistors. I’ve seen where a few hundred computers can product several pounds of gold and being that gold is several hundred dollars per ounce its a very lucrative business.
There definitely can be some health and safety hazard involved in dumpster diving, thats why I’d imagine it is illegal. Many times you could be dealing with bio-hazardous materials from something as simple as a used tampon to something as dangerous as hypodermic needles. Also rats are known to nest in dumpsters and can have rabies and will bite if they or their babies are threatened. I’ve found nice pieces of furniture and pieces of computer memory, video cards, and working computer monitors in dumpsters before myself, but I would never go as far as to actually open the black trash bags to see whats inside.
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