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Is Dumpster Diving Illegal in NY?

Is Dumpster Diving Illegal in NY

Dumpster diving in New York is the lifestyle for many New Yorkers. They all don’t take rummaging through trash cans as their only bread and butter. But, many have indeed adopted it as their side hustle.

If you are inspired by the dumpster divers who make a massive amount of bucks by sifting through the trash cans, you can surely opt for a freegan lifestyle and stretch your dollars. However, a rookie question that might keep you up at night is, “Is dumpster diving illegal in NY?”

In detail, let’s find out all you need to know about dumpster diving in NY.

We shall cover everything like its legality, best timing, best places to dumpster dive in NY, and some tips to dumpster dive in New York. Shall we?

Dumpster Diving in NY

New York comprises thousands of residential units and multiple shopping centers, making the city a hot spot for dumpster divers. The garbage rummagers earn a good living out of shortlisting items that have been thrown away and selling them on different marketplaces.

Though the dumpster divers in NY were already in a significant amount, the recent outburst of the pandemic has given an explosive rise to the figures of the dumpster diving community.

New Yorkers have found a way to play their part in reducing the amount of trash in landfills while making money. Most college students and individuals are rummaging through the garbage bins, searching for items that worked perfectly or were in just-right position, but someone just left them in the garbage because they didn’t need them anymore.

So, dumpster diving in NY is pretty much a lifestyle, and any New Yorker adopts it for the greater good and to earn some bucks.

Dumpster Diving in NY

Dumpster Diving Laws in NY

Speaking about dumpster diving laws in NY, we can tell you that there is no second thought about the fact that rummaging through garbage cans is LEGAL in all 50 states of the country, including NY.

Yes, you read that right — it’s perfectly legal.

In 1988, a Supreme Court case in the state of California vs. Greenwood legalized the act of dumpster diving as long as the action doesn’t go against any city, county, or state’s law.

But…you can’t just start scavenging anybody’s private property and a garbage can with a “No Trespassing” sign near it.

However, once someone has thrown their trash into a public place like a municipality dumpster, you are free to take whatever sounds right to you.

Dumpster Diving Laws in NY

Is Dumpster Diving Illegal in NY

Dumpster diving in New York is not illegal by any means. There are NO rules and regulations against this activity.

But, every New Yorker needs to respect your city’s:

  1. Trespassing laws
  2. Statutes
  3. Municipality’s laws

If you don’t respect all the three, you might give the prosecution a call and get yourself into trouble.

In short: You can dumpster dive in New York as long as you don’t violate trespassing rules and follow your locale’s statutes.

If you rummage through the trash cans of a gated area or a privately owned dumpster, you are trespassing.

Remember! Every house/apartment or business is considered private property in New York.

Is Dumpster Diving Legal in Rochester, NY?

Yes, dumpster diving is legal in Rochester, NY. But, you shouldn’t be doing your dive on any private property as long as the act of sifting is confined to the publicly thrown away items that are in pristine condition.

Make sure you check your locale’s latest laws related to the activity.

Is Dumpster Diving Illegal in Syracuse, NY?

Dumpster diving in Syracuse, NY, is not illegal. If you are abiding by the laws and are not sunk into a dumpster that was someone’s private property, you are good to go!

Is Dumpster Diving Illegal in Watertown, NY?

No!!! Dumpster diving in Watertown, NY, is not illegal. It’s not illegal to pick anything from the garbage. But, it’s unlawful to scavenge through a trash can on someone’s personal property.

Is Dumpster Diving Illegal in Suffolk County, NY?

Dumpster diving in Suffolk is legal as per the county’s (and country’s law). So, you can conveniently dumpster dive in Suffolk County, NY without worrying about the legality of the activity. In fact, you’ll find multiple dumpster diving hot spots in the county that you shouldn’t miss exploring at any cost.

Is Dumpster Diving Illegal in Onondaga County, NY?

Dumpster diving in Onondaga, NY, is totally legal. The restriction regarding trespassing or scavenging in gated property is the same everywhere. Onondaga County, NY, is also no exception.

Best Places to Go Dumpster Diving in NY

As we described earlier, New York is a city filled with multiple food points, shopping centers, and other residential locations that are the best for a dumpster dive.

However, below we list some of the perfect places in NY where you’ll find all the “good” dumpsters.

  1. Apartment Complexes
  2. Clothing Stores
  3. Garage Sales
  4. Cosmetic Stores
  5. Construction Sites

Which place would you like to explore first?

How Much Money Can a Dumpster Diver Make While Dumpster Diving in NY?

Well, it depends! One must consider a lot while estimating how much money a New Yorker makes out of dumpster diving.

But, if you have been researching dumpster diving in New York lately, you might have heard or read about a couple, Erin and Dave Sheffield, from Buffalo, New York. They have been dumpster diving for almost 10+ years and making $3000 a month.

Not bad, right?

As per an estimate Dave shared with Business Insider, you can make 7 cents out of 1 pound of trash, which in the long run will become almost 40 bucks a day. Though, it might appear little in the beginning.

However, you’ll be able to maximize your income within no time if you stay consistent.

So, if they can, you can too! It needs dedication and an eye to find valuable goods in the trash that will otherwise go to the landfill. You can make more money by optimizing your dumpster diving techniques and increasing efficiency.

Pro Tip: You can visit all the dumpsters in your area and spot the dumpsters with good kinds of trash. Note them down and keep a bi-weekly or monthly routine to see those points and gather some good stuff.

If you do the hard part in the beginning and chalk out a plan for your dumpster diving, you will no longer have to worry about finding new spots to plunge into the dumpsters.

You’ll have to go to your favorite dumpsters and bring some sales-worthy items on your every visit.

You’ll have to invest a little time and effort with practice, but you’ll make a handsome amount of money out of each dive.  

Is Dumpster Diving Illegal in NY

Best Time to Dumpster Dive in NY

Every time in a city like NY has to be the best time for dumpster divers.

But, if you have believed in myths like dumpster diving at night is illegal, forget them. There is no difference in the laws about dumpster diving during the day or night. You can try dumpster diving at different times, say, early in the morning and late at night when there’s less competition and more privacy, and see what works best.

Tips for Dumpster Diving in NY

There’s no one-size-fits-all kind of formula for dumpster diving in New York or any other city. Below we are sharing some tips for you to make your dumpster dive a pure success.

  • Dedicate a time for your dumpster dive and visit as many dumpsters as you can and gradually increase the number of dumpsters you can see. If you stick to playing with the numbers, you’re more likely to achieve success earlier than expected.
  • Go to the dumpsters that have the possibility of having dumped items in a variety and more significant amounts. You can find dumpsters near pharmacies, grocery stores, and farmer’s markets.
  • Learn to manage your fear and never leave a dumpster out of fear. Just own it and take the time to gather some confidence. Don’t forget to bring your supplies such as gloves, containers, or a headlamp (if you are diving at night).
  • Have an efficient rule and schedule to hit all the dumpsters you had to visit in your plan. That, too, in minimal time.
Tips for Dumpster Diving in NY

Final Words:

See, how much potential dumpster diving in NY has?

New York is a big city. Hence, you’ll find a “good” dumpster in every nook and cranny there. More dumpster means more opportunities to find valuable dumped goods and sell them at reasonable prices (which will eventually bring boatloads of buyers your way).

Are you ready to get nasty this weekend? Plan your hunt accurately, execute the plan, and follow the above-mentioned tips. We are sure you’ll soon have success out of your dive.

Moreover, you can also augment your driving skills with the help of YT videos.

Happy diving!