Is Dumpster Diving Illegal in Florida?

Introduction: What is Dumpster Diving and What are the Legal Laws Regarding It?

CORPUS CHRISTI- IS IT LEGAL IN FLORIDA? Florida law makes no specific reference to trash diving. In fact, Florida law doesn’t make any specific reference to looking through someone’s trash at all. Some Florida counties have passed ordinances that make it illegal to rummage through trash, but not to simply remove items from a dumpster.
WHAT IS DUMPSTER DIVING? If a person knocks on a dumpster and asks if they may remove a can of soup, that is not dumpster diving. If a person takes a can of soup from someone’s trash, then goes to another dumpster and takes another can of soup from someone else’s trash, that is dumpster diving. No matter what the contents of the cans or the amount taken, it is still theft.
WHERE DOES DUMPSTER DIVING OCCUR? Dumpster diving usually occurs in commercial parks where people throw away food scraps and other food-related items. These sites also often have dumpsters filled with trash, but not all of the dumpsters are for sale or for public use. Some dumpsters are free to anyone who needs a large quantity of trash hauled away. Most dumpsters belong to businesses which want to get rid of their garbage quickly or cheaply.

is it legal to dumpster dive in florida
is it legal to dumpster dive in florida

The Legal Laws on Dumpster Diving in the US

Dumpster diving is a common mode of self-reliance in the United States. However, as with many self-reliant activities, some states don’t allow it and some do. So whether dumpster diving is legal in the US depends on individual state statutes. A person cannot dumpster dive without a license in the following states: Alabama, California, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland/DC/Vermont/West Virginia , Minnesota Mississippi , Nebraska , Nevada, North Dakota New Jersey , New Mexico , Ohio , Pennsylvania and South Carolina . The following states have no laws allowing dumpster diving: Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Oklahoma. The following states make it illegal to dumpster dive without a license: Hawaii , Maine , Michigan , New Hampshire , North Dakota and Utah . This article discusses the laws on dumpster diving in the US.

is it legal to dumpster dive in florida
is it legal to dumpster dive in florida

Is it Legal to Dive into a Public Trash Bin in Florida?

Dumpster diving is a crime in Florida . The crime is defined as Theft of Lost or Mislaid Property. If a person finds a lost item and takes it, that person can be charged with the crime of theft. If someone, unknown to the finder, dropped the property into the trash or leaves it for trash pick up, then the finder may take it. But you can’t go through a dumpster and remove items without permission of the owner or someone who has legal control of the dumpster.
A recent appellate case illustrates the point. A woman found some jewelry in a trash dumpster behind a restaurant and took it. She was later arrested, charged and convicted of theft. She appealed her conviction claiming, among other things, that she had an implied license to take the property since it was disposed of in a trash dumpster in the open for anyone to find. The appellate court disagreed with her reasoning and upheld her conviction.

is it legal to dumpster dive in florida
is it legal to dumpster dive in florida

What is the Law Regarding Dumpster Diving and Are There Any Charges Against You?

In Florida, although you can’t go through a dumpster and remove items without permission of the owner or someone who dropped the property into it, dumpster diving is not illegal in Florida. The law does not make any distinction between looking through trash and removing. Because dumpster diving is not illegal in Florida, you can be charged with theft if you take property out of a trash receptacle. In fact, the penalties for theft are much more severe than those for dumpster diving.
If you dumpster dive and take a purse, for example, you can be charged with theft. That purse is legally the owner’s property, however trash is the owner’s property too. The person who put the purse in the dumpster was making a decision to abandon it as trash. Diving into someone else’s trash would be illegal in Florida if it were done for the purpose of taking something that didn’t belong to you, even if it was abandoned or thrown away. The circumstances relating to abandoned items are important, though.

is it legal to dumpster dive in florida
is it legal to dumpster dive in florida