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Is Dumpster Diving Illegal in Illinois? [The Comprehensive Guide]

Is Dumpster Diving Illegal in Illinois

Dumpster diving in Illinois might seem like a crazy idea, but it serves a great purpose – Reducing the trash that would otherwise go to the landfill. 

And that’s not the only perk. It’s a super adventurous activity and can also make you money.

So, if you are into dumpster diving in Illinois, you must gather all the details about the status of the activity. Say if it’s legal or not? What situations can get you in trouble while dumpster diving? And, can you go to jail for sifting through trash cans in Illinois?

There is a long list of queries…

Hence, we have prepared this comprehensive guide that contains all you need to know about dumpster diving in Illinois. Let’s roll.

Dumpster Diving in Illinois

Have you ever thought about reducing the trash going every day in landfills and using the dumped items in this regard? If so, you are inclined towards a greater good that will not only keep our planet free from unnecessary heaps of landfills but also make you a great living out of your dive.

Just like any other state, dumpster diving is a method of reusing items that other people have thrown out or decided not to use.

Illinois is the garbage diving hotspot of the United States, with 237 shopping complexes, 5465 stores, and 2.5 million residents. That’s right, and Illinois has over 500 dumpsters per square mile!

In addition to being a dumping hotspot for garbage, Illinois has many public dumpsters and pickups available for anyone to use. However, you should never trespass or enter property without permission. If caught doing so, you could be charged with trespassing and fined.

Dumpster Diving in Illinois

Dumpster Diving laws in Illinois 

You can legally dive into public dumpsters, pickups, and curbs. But you should not trespass on private premises to do so. Under Illinois law, you could be charged a fine for trespassing if caught diving in a private dumpster.

According to the law of the Supreme Court 1988 (California vs. Greenwood)…

Dumpster diving, in general, all over the US (including Illinois), is not illegal. BUT each city has laws regarding dumpster diving, and it has the right to ban the activity on its premises.

(You get the picture, right?)

Dumpster Diving laws in Illinois 

Is Dumpster Diving Illegal in Illinois?  

Does the removal of other people’s trash from a dumpster constitute theft? That’s the main concern dumpster divers often have while they are up to kick start their dumpster diving hauls in Illinois.

Well, dumpster diving is NOT illegal in Illinois only if you are not caught trespassing. This means you can dive into public dumpsters, pickups, and curbs as long as you don’t trespass on private property. If you’re caught doing this, you could be charged.

The primary reason behind the charge for trespassing is…

It’s technically a misdemeanor to trespass on private property.

If you stick to dumpster diving legally there are numerous opportunities for you in Illinois. Let’s discuss two of them:

First, if you live near an Ikea store, there are often large piles of furniture that people have just thrown out because they didn’t like it anymore. These items can be sold on eBay or Craigslist, which gives sellers a chance to recoup some or all of their costs while still making some money off them (which is especially helpful if they’re still under warranty).

Secondly, many people dumpster dive near construction sites in Illinois so they can sell any materials they find while hauling them away from the site. This includes things like lumber and other building materials as well.

Below we shall learn more about dumpster diving’s legality in the major cities of Illinois one by one.

Is Dumpster Diving Illegal in Illinois

Is Dumpster Diving Illegal in Chicago?

In Chicago, dumpster diving is illegal. Especially if you are diving into the garbage without a permit or license, however, not all areas are covered by the law, and you can still find yourself in legal trouble if caught doing it.

Simply put, no license means a hefty fine if caught diving into the dumpsters.

The process to acquire a license to dumpster dive is simple:

  1. Apply for it by following all the mentioned instructions.
  2. Pay the two-year license fee, which is worth $250.
  3. Get your license and get to hauling.

Note that: Getting a license doesn’t mean you have received a warrant to trespass. Trespassing is still illegal for you!

Is Dumpster Diving Illegal in Rockford?

Dumpster diving is also legal in Rockford (you need a permit or license). Just do it legally and go dumpster diving. In Rockford, the rules are a bit stricter for dumpster diving, and you need to learn to read codes like 25.21 – 25.36.

Is dumpster diving illegal in Joliet?

Again, you need a license to start dumpster diving in Joliet. However, in Joliet, there are two kinds of applications to apply for a permit — one for scavengers and the other for junk peddlers. 

What category do you fall in? You decide!

Is dumpster diving illegal in Aurora?

You need a license to dumpster dive in Aurora too. But it’s also not illegal there. Just have a permit and continue with your ventures. Easy!

Applying for the license is pretty much the same as in Chicago. However, you can get a yearly license for as low as $50 per year.

Is Dumpster Diving Illegal in Naperville?

Just like other Illinois cities, you must have a license to rummage through the trash in Naperville too. You can gather more information about the application procedure and qualification status through online research or by asking officials.

Can You Go to Jail for Dumpster Diving in Illinois?

No, you can’t go to jail for dumpster diving in Illinois. But you must be aware of the charging risks you might have if caught trespassing at someone’s public property or a gated dumpster.

Learning your local laws regarding trespassing and dumpster diving is always better. They’d help you a ton in this regard.

Best Places to Go Dumpster Diving in Illinois

There are many places where people dumpster dive in Illinois, but these three are among the most popular.

  • Construction Sites: These are great places because there’s always construction happening somewhere, so most people don’t think twice about leaving their trash out for anyone to take advantage of.
  • Industrial Areas: Dumpsters are often placed near these areas so businesses can easily dispose of their waste without going far from their office buildings or factories.
  • Farmer Markets: Farmers’ markets have a lot of products that need to be cleaned before they go into stores—so why not take advantage of this opportunity? You’ll be helping out local farmers and community members while getting plenty back yourself!
Is Dumpster Diving Illegal in Chicago

How Much Can You Earn Dumpster Diving in Illinois?

As per our research and findings after talking to some of the big names in dumpster diving who belong to Illinois, the potential amount you can earn in Illinois as a dumpster diver is $1800 per week. But, if only you are working as a dumpster diver full time!

By full-time, we mean dedicating at least 40+ per week.

See, there’s a huge income potential hidden in this activity!

Best Time to Dumpster Dive in Illinois

While there isn’t a specific time of day when dumpster diving is less likely to get you into trouble or make you more money, some factors make it safer.

For example, suppose you’re looking for food in an area where people are more likely to leave their garbage behind because they’re too busy and don’t have time to pick up after themselves. In that case, dumpster diving is probably a better option for you than going door-to-door looking for leftovers. Just see the best time that works for you and have relatively fewer distractions. Just go for it. Day or night doesn’t matter.

Tips for Dumpster Diving in Illinois

If you’re new to dumpster diving in Illinois, here are some tips to help you get started:

  1. Make sure you have proper safety equipment. Safety goggles, gloves, and well-ventilated clothes are essential. You should also wear sturdy shoes so that if something falls on your foot, it won’t hurt as much.
  • Find an empty lot or construction site with a large dumpster or trash bin.
  • Keep your eyes peeled for signs that indicate an area is off-limits (like no trespassing signs). If there are any signs, don’t enter the property. There could be someone there who would be upset by your presence!
  • Don’t forget that most dumpsters are locked. So if the dumpster in front of you isn’t, don’t worry about getting caught! Just try again after the lock has been removed or replaced with something less secure (you’ll know when this happens because the lid will begin spinning around like crazy).
  • Make sure you’re doing it legally. Check with your local government before going dumpster diving so that you don’t get into trouble with the law when all goes well!

Final Words:

Dumpster diving is a fun and exciting way to make money. If you’re looking for a way to make some extra cash, dumpster diving in Illinois could be the perfect option. You don’t need much equipment or experience, and getting started is easy.

Believe it or not, dumpster diving is a great way to make money, and it’s completely legal in Illinois. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and get started!