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Is Dumpster Diving Illegal At Walmart?

is dumpster diving illegal at walmart

Walmart stands strong as America’s biggest employer and retailer. With such impressive titles, we all know how many products and items they have in their repertoire. From food items to car accessories, everything for your baby plus home furniture, sports equipment, electronics, and white goods, you name it!

So when a perishable item has passed its used-by date or something is faulty, damaged, torn, unsellable, or broken. It usually ends up in Walmart’s giant dumpsters. Some amazing treats await those of us who enjoy picking through trash for treasures!

But is dumpster diving illegal at Walmart?

What Is Dumpster Diving?

Dumpster diving is the art of collecting things from other people’s trash cans and dumpsters. This could be anything from cardboard, shoes, appliances, food, clothing, and old building materials. A lot are reusable things like furniture and clothes or recyclable things, including plastic bottles and glass jars. Food items are an especially hot commodity for the homeless and poverty-stricken communities.

So, although you might think it sounds pretty unpleasant. Dumpster diving is a way for those enduring less fortunate circumstances to help themselves get by. From finding food to eat for the next day or collecting tins and bottles to be recycled and to earn a little bit of money. Dumpster diving is a practice followed by many for a number of different reasons.

Is Dumpster Diving Really Only For The Poor Or Homeless?

Is Dumpster Diving Really Only For The Poor Or Homeless

Actually, in this day and age, no, it’s not. Dumpster Diving is becoming somewhat of a “trend” when it comes to recycling and refurbishing old, unwanted items into something shiny and new.

There are many people who are making a business out of other people’s trash, and it seems to be a growing niche. Not to mention quite a profitable one when you do things right!

For example, you pick up the original unwanted, damaged, or faulty items for free when dumpster diving. Then you might spend a little bit of money on repairs or some paint or new fabric to restore it. When it’s fixed and looking fresh, you can then sell it for a very reasonable profit. There are many festivals, car boot sales, street markets, and even stores to find these newly refurbished treasures.

What Benefits Are There From Dumpster Diving?

There are a few! For one, dumpster divers help the environment by taking a lot of things out of the trash that would otherwise end up in landfill. The good old saying of one man’s trash is another man’s treasure is totally fitting for this scenario!

Walmart often throws away items that are faulty or only slightly broken as they have a huge volume of the same product. Meanwhile, there are people out there who love to fix broken items and give them a new lease on life.

Big businesses and store owners can also greatly benefit from bin divers as it decreases the amount of waste they are producing. This means less trash to be collected and, therefore, less that they have to pay for to be taken away! And again, that means it’s much less to end up in landfill.

Also, there’s an awful lot of food that is thrown away, yet it is still perfectly edible. However, as the food items are past their ‘use by’ date, it’s illegal to be sold in stores. So this a really good way for people who can’t afford to buy all the food they need or want to get enough to eat. Whether it be for them, their family and loved ones, or others who need help.

What Benefits Are There From Dumpster Diving

Is Dumpster Diving Illegal?

Technically, no. Dumpster diving is a legal practice in all 50 US states. The Supreme Court Case California vs. Greenwood ruled that as long as the dumpster or trash is on public property, then it’s free game. However, many states, cities, and businesses have other ordinances, decrees, laws, and rules in place to deter you from the act of dumpster diving.

For example, in Arizona, almost all cities in the entire State have passed ordinances against it. You can get ticketed for trespassing, littering, and even creating a social disturbance if you get caught dumpster diving.

While in Arkansas, again, it is legal; however, you run the risk of getting sued by the “garbage owner,” and the law always favors them over you. You might even get booked for trespassing at the same time, even if the garbage is on public property.

It seems that even though it is legal, most states aren’t fans of the practice. Trespassing is a huge issue and is one of the significant ways to be prosecuted, as well as littering, disturbing the peace, and privacy issues. So if dumpster diving is something you want to try, make sure you aren’t on private property. Also, you might need to get permission from the business or person whose trash you are going through; it differs for each state.

Is Walmart Dumpster Diving Illegal Or Not?

Dumpster diving is considered to be an illegal activity at Walmart. It’s not the actual act of dumpster diving that is the illegal part. The reason dumpster diving at Walmart is illegal is that their trash is located on their actual property, which is private. So it’s more of a trespassing issue. Not to mention it can be considered theft or stealing in line with the trespassing laws.

Is Walmart Dumpster Diving Illegal Or Not

Is Dumpster Diving Illegal At Walmart? – Yes, more reasons it’s illegal…

Walmart has locks on the majority of their bins across the states; opening them, or even just trying to open them, is a chargeable offense. Not to mention it’s a civil liability for a company to knowingly allow people in their dumpsters because if they hurt themselves, the store can be sued.

Is It Possible To Legally Dumpster Dive At Walmart?

Yes, it is. Walmart does allow people to go dumpster diving if they talk with them and get permission. Sometimes permission is all you need; however, at other locations, they might provide you with a legal access permit. This way, you will not be obstructing the trespassing laws.  

What Happens If I’m Caught Illegally Dumpster Diving At Walmart?

If you are caught dumpster diving in a Walmart without express permission or a permit granted by the store manager. Then you can expect to find yourself in some hot water. You might get banned from the location, arrested, fined, prosecuted, or even banned from all Walmart stores everywhere!

What Can You Find When Dumpster Diving?

You could come across pretty much anything when diving through Walmarts trash. Let’s face it, Walmarts sells everything you could possibly ever want, so you might be surprised what gets thrown away…

What Can You Find When Dumpster Diving

Some of the more valued items are – 

  • Food – Think fresh, perishable, and pantry food items past their sell-by date.
  • Furniture – Items like chairs, desks, tables, bed frames, and coat stands, either old, damaged, or defective.
  • Home Decor – For example, lamps, candles, kitchenware, cushions, damaged, stained, or broken.
  • Clothing – all types of clothing items that are damaged, ripped, or not bought three seasons later.
  • Electronics – kitchen appliances, watches, and white goods that are damaged or defective.

Want to Know More about Walmart?

Then it’s time to find out Does Walmart Price MatchIs Superstore based on WalmartWhy Do People Call Walmart Wally WorldHow Does Walmart Track Shoplifting as well as Does Walmart Hire Felons?

You might also be interested in the Walmart Car Battery Return Policy, the Walmart Return Policy Without Receipt, the Walmart Diaper Return Policy if you have a baby on the way, the Walmart Return Policy Without Box Or Opened Box, and for gamers, the Walmart Video Game Return Policy and the Walmart TV Return Policy for 2023.

Final Thoughts

Dumpster diving at Walmart can be a fruitful endeavor as long as you go about it the right way. That includes getting permission from the store manager, not being a nuisance and always tidying up after yourself.

It’s not at all glamorous, and the smells can be enough to deter a lot of people. However, it is a practice that helps the environment as well as the less fortunate. Interestingly enough, dumpster diving is not only for those down on their luck. But it is becoming a full-time profession for some to make a few extra dollars.

Happy dumpster diving, but as with everything, it’s best to stay within the law.

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