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Rules for dumpster diving?

Posted by lady_alicia ( on
Tue, Feb 5, 08 at 20:06

I posted this also at the Garden Junk forum, but I thought I'd try here too. :)
I see some windows in a dumpster that someone took out of their house as they're renovating. I try to pick a few up here and there in hopes of making a greenhouse someday. Well, do you just go take them or should you knock on the door? I usually pick things up at a curbside or off the sidewalk since it's public property, but if a dumpster is sitting in the front yard and part of the sidewalk, is it proper to ask for permission to take the windows? I don't want to get shot over a window or two! LOL And you never know what kind of people they'll be.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Rules for dumpster diving?

Like you I figure if stuff is at the curb, then it's open season for whoever finds it first. But I have knocked on a door or two when I was uncertain. Sometimes the people owning the dumptster have first "dibs" on anything that may be in it. Better to be safe than sorry.

RE: Rules for dumpster diving?

I've heard of places with laws preventing removal of "trash" from the curb, unless you are the contracted hauler. In this case I'm assuming that the homeowner has rented the dumpster, and will be paid by the load/weight for removal. If that's so, the homeowner would probably view it as a benefit not having to pay to have them trashed.

In any case, yes, I'd probably take a moment to ask permission, simply so that they don't get weirded out by some stranger poking through their dumpster.

Another rule I follow is to leave the area as clean or cleaner than when I got there. If I don't make a mess, they're less likely to get upset with my... um... hobby?


RE: Rules for dumpster diving?

I think if it is items sitting at the curb or by a trash can a the curb it is free for the taking.
However, those dumpsters that people or contractors rent...I don't think they are fair game. I would ask first before taking anything. I have seen some with signs saying they are not for public use- disposal or removal. I would ask first just to avoid any potential problems.
Now dumpsters at public areas- apartments, behind stores, etc- fair game.

RE: Rules for dumpster diving?

If it's at the curb, I just sort of try to act casual-- make sure no one's looking-- and snatch it. (Yes, I know it's very Passive-Aggressive Curb Shopping, but hey, it's a tactic. :) )

I've heard a wide range of reactions from homeowners when they've been asked about their trash. One man wanted to CHARGE a lady for it when she found out she wanted it. (Note: it was garbage, too.) Others have helped people load their cars.


RE: Rules for dumpster diving?

Thanks for all the responses, everyone. :) Unfortunately, I went there the next day with the intention of knocking on the door to ask if I could have the window(s), and the dumpster was gone! Ugh. I was so mad at myself for not going that day. What I don't get is why wouldn't you sit that kind of stuff out to give away instead of letting it go sit in the landfill! And we even have a used furniture store that will buy things off of you and then resell them in their store. I shop there all the time and get great deals! On the brighter side, I did get a table the other day that someone sat out on the curb. I came home to switch vehicles, jumped in the Excursion, made my son go with me and we got it!! I wasn't missing out a second time. :)


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