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Thread: Dumpster Diving, is it legal??
03-21-2006, 09:07 AM #1
Dumpster Diving, is it legal??
I have a question about this...
Like I've said several times, we're rewiring and rebuilding out cubes here in our office.
Anyway, they are throwing out Good Banquet Tables, file cabinets, meeting tables, square tables, all the cube components, etc...
Well, Sunday when we were here, we were looking into the dumpsters to see what was in there. I pulled out the banquet table because we rent them all the time when we have cookouts. One guy got an office desk, another a file cabinet. It's all in construction dumpsters in the parking lot.
We were wondering if it's legal now that it's being thrown away.
A memo was sent saying someone said that they saw employees in the dumpsters on Sunday and that they don't want anyone hurt by going into the dumpsters.
Which makes sense. But, if we so choose to get items out of the dumpsters, is there any thing that says we can't??
I've been searching the MGLs with no luck. And I can't find any of our local Municipal codes on-line.
I am finding things about how trash doesn't go against the fourth amendment. But nothing about getting items thrown out for personal use...
The only thing with any meat that I can find is this:
"The legality of trashing and dumpster diving was established in the landmark Supreme Court ruling California vs. Greenwood (486 U.S. 35, 108 S.Ct. 1625) in 1988."
CA v. Greenwood only established that it does not violate the Fourth Amendment--which says that the government cannot engage in an "unreasonable search or seizure"--for the police to arrest a guy based on evidence found in the guy's garbage (like, in this case, drugs) because one cannot have a reasonable expectation that stuff they throw in the garbage will remain private. The Fourth Amendment protects private citizens from government action, and it has no application in the case of you and your friends looking through dumpsters
A better legal principle upon which to ground your claim that dumpster diving is legal is the principle that one no longer has any claim to property after he abandons it. These stores abandon the property by putting it in the dumpster, so anyone else wanting to take it can take it free and clear of their claim.
Of course, states can regulate dumpster diving if they want to, so the best practice would be for you to check your state's statutes.
Good thing is my boss is one that is also wanting to know, so I can look for this during work. LOL!
Anyway, if ANYONE were to go into these dumpsters, what's to stop them? And if they get hurt, who would they go after? The people that have the dumpsters? The complain that we lease our building from? Our Company? While this is private property, it's not OUR property. It belongs to the people that that we rent our space from. Our building has a ladies gym and a daycare in here. So it's not just us...
Anyway, is someone knows where in the MGLs that I can find this, or knows the legality of of this, I would appreciate it.
03-21-2006, 09:19 AM #2
We used to lock our dumpsters at work, now we have a compactor that you feed from inside the building.
I was told that as long as it is on your property it was still your stuff and someone taking it would be stealing. This is strictly word of mouth information. This info was not from an LEO or attorney so I have nothing to back it up.When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are undisturbed. Luke 11:21
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03-21-2006, 09:20 AM #3
Great.... There goes another hobby of mine.“Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms (of government) those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny”
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03-21-2006, 09:32 AM #4
So you are saying is that it's illegal to go to the dumpster at McDonalds before closing time to get all the left over hamburgers ? Great,there goes my Friday nights..."..............the right of the People to Keep and Bear arms, shall not be infringed, except in cases of interaction with an agent of the government, in which case The People temporarily lose the right to Bear said arms, in favor of the Agent's right to disarm The People in order to reduce perceived risk and increase the Agent's safety".............
03-21-2006, 09:59 AM #5
I think that if it's in or around the dumpster there is an understanding that it's up for grabs. Don't know if there's any legal precedence there but I've never heard of anyone being arrested for dumpster diving or taking the couch on the curb.
03-21-2006, 10:09 AM #6
Well, we just want something to go back with to say that's it's legal.
They are going to be doing this for the next 16 weeks. And I'm going to be here every Sunday. So if there are things that I want, then I want to be able to get them if needed.
One co-worker got a desk that he now uses for reloading sometime ago.
It's just stupid that they are throwing away a bunch if good stuff, that they could donate and use as a tax writeoff, but they might throw a fit if we were to just take it off hours.
03-21-2006, 10:50 AM #7
C-pher, don't know what town you work in, but try calling the Dept of Publc Works for that town and ask them if they have any codes or laws on taking "garbage" from containers that aren't your own.
03-21-2006, 02:01 PM #8Originally Posted by Greg
INAL, remember that, however, I was told by someone in L.E. that if it's thrown out, it's up for grabs. I think what the companies are afraid of is that someone will get hurt and then sue either the business where the dumpster is located or the dumpster company itself. A lot of companies are locking their dumpsters because people will do a drive by drop at night to get rid of trash and it fills up faster.
03-21-2006, 06:35 PM #9
In Orono it used to be a big-time drinking-night hobbie (BTW in Orono EVERY Night was a drinkin' night ) To go dumpster diving in the Dunkin Donuts' when the closed at midnight, because all the day's leftovers would be stuffed into a bag and tossed.
Never did it myself....but it's a funny-ass story! And I talked to LOTS of people who did!
03-21-2006, 06:45 PM #10
I guess the question is, is a 20 buck file cabinet worth your job?
The dumpster is still on their property so at the least it would be trespass and at worst, larceny.
Not to mention that the refuse company may lay claim to whatever is in the dumpster as they may salvage whatever they want before it's dumped.'PUGNA PRO PATRIA'