You might have heard all about dumpster diving, and think it is just for people who are in desperate situations. But the truth is more and more people are giving dumpster diving a try, as they see it can be a valuable way to turn someone else’s trash into their treasure.


In fact, I found all my boxes in a dumpster when I moved last year. I simply asked the management if I could dumpster dive for boxes. He gave me permission and told me what days their shipments came in and and had an excess of boxes in the dumpster. The boxes were all the same size, so it made moving much easier. 

If you want to give dumpster diving a spin, you should know there are safe and legal ways to go about it. Look below at 7 tips for dumpster diving safely and legally, so you can make the most of your treasure hunting experience.

How to safely dumpster dive like a pro. Here are 7 tips to make your dumpster diving successful.

1. Always wear proper shoes and clothing.
Since you will be climbing and digging, you want to keep your skin protected. Wear long pants, long sleeves, and proper shoes with traction. This way you can easily move around and get to the items you want without risking injury. You never know what sharp objects you might encounter, so durable shoes are especially important for keeping feet safe. I like to wear sturdy gloves, too.

2. Know which dumpsters welcome visitors.
Not all businesses or work sites want people rummaging through their trash. It is best manners to ask the owner of any dumpster for permission to enter if you see something you want. This way, you avoid any trespassing issues. A simple way to do this is to find out who owns the dumpster and ask.

3. Always obey no trespassing signs.
This piggy backs off of suggestion number #2. If you see no trespassing signs, obey them. Some areas may have cameras or security and you can be charged with a crime (or at least asked to leave) should you be caught there. For some businesses it can be a liability for someone to be digging through their discarded items, so always obey these signs when you see them and avoid trouble.

4. Dumpster dive when you have ample light.
Since you never know what is waiting for you, always dive when you have ample light. This means during the day or with the use of a flashlight. You don’t want to come across any sharp or dangerous objects or even critters unexpectedly. Instead, make sure you have plenty of light so you aren’t rummaging through potentially dangerous stuff.

5. Carefully inspect your findings before taking them home.
Because anything could be in that dumpster, inspect all items before transporting them home. You would hate to carry home critters or bugs of any kind. You also don’t want there to be paint, oil, or chemicals on items before you toss them in your car. Instead, inspect carefully and be safe.

6. Keep sanitizer and towels in the car.
It is worth keeping both of these items in your car so you can sanitize and clean up as soon as you are done. This can help you avoid any germs, illness, or injury. Keeping these items in the car will help you clean up quickly before you head home, where you can then shower.

7. Head to the internet to find more safe and ample dumpster sites.
Look for freegan and dumpster diving chat boards on Facebook. See if you can find local groups in your area. These chat groups are a great way to find dumpster sites that welcome treasure hunters.

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Are you ready to do some dumpster diving? Keep these tips in mind for dumpster diving safely!