Question by Really now…: Does anyone have any info on laws for dumpster diving in Texas?
That’s basically it. I know I used to but I never really knew if it was illegal and what I could face if I was caught. I would like to continue to do it because I find awesome stuff for my kids and my home that way but with two kids I don’t want to get aressted either. Does anyone know if there are laws against it and what those laws are? Do different stores and like housing dumpsters have different laws? Thanks 🙂
Answer by Dan S
By definition anything in a dumpster is waste and therefore not needed and abandoned by the owner. So you can recover anything from the trash that you want.
The problem is the location of the dumpster. If the dumpster is on private property then you can’t access it without trespassing.
To go dumpster diving all you need to do is to ask the permission of the management of the company that uses the dumpster. If it is a community used dumpster, like in a shopping mall then if one store gives you access you don’t need to ask any other.
The problem with this is that a lot of dumpsters are compacting and therefore dangerous for a person to get into. The Mall near where I live has a dumpster like this. You can dump trash in it, but you can’t go into the dumpster itself without having it turned off, or you could get compacted with the trash.
Therefore to have access to a dumpster you need the permission of the owner of the property to be on their property where the dumpster is located. Yes, you can get arrested on trespassing for dumpster diving, especially if you have to go inside a building to reach the dumpster. If you go on to the property of an apartment company then they may give you some grief, especially if you make a habit of it. If you go behind a shopping complex then few people are going to care.
The garbage that you recover will be covered by salvage laws and the rules of salvage are that whatever you recover is yours.
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