Is Dumpster Diving Illegal In Kentucky & Indiana? The Answer Will Shock You
You've heard the old saying "One Person's Trash Is Another Person's Treasure" right? Well, do you know if it's actually legal to make it your treasure here in Kentucky?
I'M A JUNK GYPSY AT HEART
When I was growing up, one of our favorite past times was to hop in the car on a Saturday afternoon and drive around to see what people were tossing in the trash. I know you're probably thinking that sounds like the worst kind of fun ever but it wasn't. We had a blast. It was like treasure hunting to see the goodies we could find. Sometimes we made out like bandits and other times we came up empty-handed. I guess I never really thought about whether it was wrong or not. I mean it's trash and by definition, it means "discarded matter or refuses". As I've gotten older I have zero problems pulling up to someone's driveway or trash can and loading an old dresser they've tossed out. It's like second nature, but is it legal to physically go to a store or public dumpster and take things inside?
WHAT STATE LAW SAYS ABOUT DUMPSTER DIVING
Obviously, without even looking at a law book you can assume that stepping onto private property to dumpster dive is a no-go. However, we did find in an article on moneyworths.com it is actually legal to dumpster dive in Kentucky;
Dumpster diving is not illegal in Kentucky. In fact, it is completely legal to go dumpster diving in the state of Kentucky. However, keeping an eye on the trespassing laws of your state is a must. Since every business and private residency is considered private property, dumpster diving without permission may lead to trespassing citations.
There is actually a court case from the 1980s California vs Greenwood where a man by the name of Billy Greenwood was believed to be selling drugs illegally out of his home. A police officer had the trash collector pick up the trash bags placed on the curb by Greenwood when he placed them out. They found evidence of drug use and were able to obtain a warrant for the home finding more evidence. The California Supreme Court dismissed the charges but the U.S. Supreme Court actually reversed the ruling and stated that since Mr. Greenwood had discarded his trash it was not protected by the fourth amendment.
Actually Dumpster Diving is legal in all 50 states but each city/county can adopt their own laws so you have to school yourself on those and follow the trespassing laws in each town.
CAN YOU GO DUMPSTER DIVING AT NIGHT?
The same rules apply to diving at night as they do during the day. You can't go on private property. You might want to consider where and when you go through. For instance here in Owensboro, we have the Neighborhood Clean-Up Days and lots of people throw away really good stuff. If you plan on going maybe do it in the daylight. I know I would be hot and bothered if someone was rummaging through my front yard in the middle of the night.
IT REALLY IS A LIFESTYLE FOR SOME PEOPLE
There are a lot of people who make a living off going through dumpsters and then reselling the items they find or using them in their own homes. You would be amazed at some of the stuff you can find.
DUMPSTER DIVING FACEBOOK PAGES
If you are serious about becoming a Dumpster Diver there are actual Facebook pages that are dedicated to tips and tricks, Dumpster Diving, and more. You get to ask questions, folks post their "hauls", and you can even find a buddy to go dumpster diving with which is hilarious!