How To Wiki
Warning: This page it's very incomplete, use this article, particular has very caution! Please help finish it this page!

Whether you call is dumpster diving or trash picking its the same idea. Finding stuff in the trash. You find pretty much anything if you know the tricks of the trade. It seem obvious, and it is, but here are a few tips, and where to find things.

This howto does not include specific company names so they don't get over run, and the companies don't lock up their dumpsters

Laws and ethics

Its nice to know the laws of the land, and for the benefit of all trash pickers its good to be ethical.


Luckily in the USA, the law is on our side. Trash picking is legal


The legality of dumpsters are a little more ambitious, as they are on private land. But its reasonable to assume they open for diving.

  • Courts have affirmed that since stores and their parking lots are open to the public, they are in effect public land. As with all/most public land, there may be restriction. No trespassing signs, private road, etc. You must follow these signs as they are protected by law.
  • Since they are in effect public land, one can infer that the laws above apply. But it is a bit ambitious.
  • For the most part you can dive your heart out.
  • If someone asks you to leave, then leave.
  • If someone asks you to never come back, don't come back.
  • If they say they are calling the cops, say go ahead. You will be gone by the time they come anyway.
  • Taking aluminum cans from recycling bins is illegal, but its ok from trash cans and dumpsters.
  • Dumping you trash in a dumpster or trashcan that is not yours is very illegal. Don't do it!


It's important to keep ethics in mind. For good karma, and to help other divers from being yelled at, dumpsters being locked, and no trespassing signs being put up

  • So here are some basic ethical guidelines, that are recommended.
    • Follow the rules, i.e. obey any signs
    • Leave the area cleaner that when you came. Clean up any trash that has fallen out, whether its yours or not.
    • If anyone complains leave.
    • If they say don't come back, don't (one should always follow this guideline)
    • If they say they are calling the cops, tell them to go ahead, and leave with haste.
    • Be polite to people that complain, no matter how rude they are
    • If the dumpster is locked or in a locked gate don't enter.
    • If things are outside the dumpster, and it's ambiguous if an item is trash, don't take it.

Dealing with "The Man"

On occasion the owner of a dumpster will complain. Hear are some tips on dealing with them

  • Tell them you are looking for boxes, people feel more comfortable with that
  • Be polite, no mater how rude they are.
  • Leave with appropriate haste if someone tells you to leave.
  • If they say they are calling the cops, tell them to go ahead, and leave with haste.

Avoiding "the Man"

  • Be quiet and inconspicuous.
  • If you are driving, park the car to block the view of others.
  • Go one Sunday or non-business hours.
  • Don't go late at night, so you don't appear to be a trouble maker.

Places to find things

  • Liquor stores
    • Boxes: have a ton of boxes, but they are all about L: 15" W: 15" H: 12"
  • Drug stores
    • Soap, shampoo, toiletries, toothpaste, they will throw away entire shelfs of products when they are out of date(expires) or because of style changes.
  • Copy or printing centers
    • Printer paper: they many have some printing on one side, but you can find stacks of paper with only a small printing on one side.

From HowTo Wiki, a Wikia wiki.

  • Aldi
    • Fresh veggies, food tems