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.

Best answer:

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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4 Responses to Q&A: Why is dumpster diving illegal (in the USA), when our consumerism wastes so much good stuff?

  1. Reuben Y says:

    I dislike the world for its waste and selfishness also

  2. Tuesday SS says:

    Illegal in the US?

    It isn’t! Not in my town, nor any of the other towns I’ve ever lived in. Smart or healthy? Not so much.

    If it concerns you, place reusable discards near the dumpster or on the curb with a “free” sign. Encourage your neighbors to do the same. Just be sure to get them properly removed in a day or two. So far, and I’ve put many toys, computers, printers, books and some furniture out, I’ve never had to carry anything to the trash.

    Or organize, advertise, and hold a free yard sale. Write to your city council to find out if they will support you, and even help!

    Or donate reusable discarded items to a charitable thrift shop or shelter.

    Those things WILL make a difference. As might trying to change the laws (if it really is illegal to remove items from common trash receptacles) in your area. Just remember that taking items out of a trash can that is on private property is a whole different issue.

  3. Mesperanto says:

    I agree. I’ve never understood why it’s illegal to use what people don’t want. Instant recycling and cutting out the middle guy, plus the person who hired the dumpster wins because they’ve got more space!

  4. boter_99 says:

    Take it from a DD pro… It’s not illegal. Once it is in the trash owner ship is forfeit and void. And here is the best part (and it took me paying a lawyer to learn) similarly to “reasonable expectation of privacy”, there is a “reasonable assumption of refuse”. If it looks like trash and is publicly accessible like trash, It’s trash!

    Dive away…

    Just don’t go head first as you never now what you might find just below the surface.