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Dumpster Diving in Pennsylvania

Are you considering starting your dumpster diving quest in Pennsylvania?

Do you know the laws guiding dumpster diving in Pennsylvania?

If you are curious to know the answer to the questions above, then you are in the right place.

This article is a comprehensive guide to everything you need to know about dumpster diving in Pennsylvania. 

Dumpster Diving in Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, there are lots of shopping malls and complexes with over 9000 stores operating in them. These statistics have made Pennsylvania one of the most popular states for dumpster diving.

There are popular neighborhoods like Jefferson Hills, Fox Chapel, Pleasant Hills, Franklin Park, Kennett Square, etc hotspots for dumpster divers which have made those cities also very popular.

Pennsylvania has everything you need to start your dumpster quest ranging from stores, shops, etc. to wealthy neighborhoods.

Is Dumpster Diving Legal in Pennsylvania?

Dumpster diving in pennysylvania

Dumpster diving is legal in Pennsylvania, it is absolutely legalized in the state. However, always obey the state’s trespassing laws and the laws of the city you are in before dumpster diving. 

In Pennsylvania, dumpster diving without necessary permission on private properties will attract trespassing tickets and fines. 

Note that there are no laws against diving into dumpsters placed in public places or property because according to the landmark United States Supreme Court case California v. Greenwood, a person or store has lost ownership right on a refuse dump in public dumpsters. 

Dumpster diving on private property or in a place with a NO TRESPASSING sign will get you charged with trespassing, loitering, littering, etc and you might be banned from that vicinity. 

It is advisable to collect permits if you want to go dumpster diving on private property. 

Is Dumpster Diving Legal in Lancaster PA?

Dumpster diving in Lancaster PA is legal as it is considered a way of getting disposed of products that are still good to those that still need them. 

It is allowed to dive into dumpsters on public properties, and there is a NO TRESPASSING sign. 

Is Dumpster Diving Legal in Philadelphia?

There are no laws against dumpster diving in Philadelphia, only that you will be charged and fined if caught on private property. 

If you are caught trespassing on a property with a NO TRESPASSING sign, you will be charged with trespassing and fined as much as $4000 based on the incident. 

You can be fined $900 for loitering in Philadelphia. Therefore, it is essential that you watch out for a NO TRESPASSING sign or stay away from dumpster diving on private property. 

Is Dumpster Diving Legal in Allentown?

Allentown is one city where it is illegal to dumpster dive. You need to reconsider starting your dumpster quest in this city.

It is stated under the city’s health code act that it shall be a violation if an unauthorized person collects or picks up any recyclables both in public places and on private properties. Violating this act incurs a charge of $25/$100 based on the case. 

Trespassing and loitering are also illegal in Allentown and you should expect a fine of over $300 and $500 if caught, respectively. In some cases, you might be facing a 90-day term in jail. 

This is why it is advisable to stay away from Allentown if you want to start dumpster diving. 

Is Dumpster Diving at Night in Pennsylvania Against The Law?

There are no laws separately governing dumpster diving at night in Pennsylvania. Whether you go dumpster diving during the day or at night, the law still remains the same. 

However, dumpster diving at night can be dangerous at times and a cop can be called on you if you are disturbing the residents around where you are dumpster diving. 

Most dumpster divers prefer to go at night because it offers privacy, which turns into a crowd as others will be out too.

Where to go Dumpster Diving in Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, there are places you can go to that have the best trash cans that will fetch you valuable money. These places are:

  • Construction Sites
  • Hardware Stores
  • Grocery Stores
  • Yard and Garage Sales
  • Cosmetic Stores, etc

Dumpster Diving Safety Measures

  • Always put on clothes that cover your hand and legs. You can use gloves and covered shoes.
  • Go with a flashlight if you are going dumpster diving at night
  • Be aware of the laws in the city you want to dump dive.
  • Use a long stick to scavenge through the trash to avoid getting bitten by snakes, or poked by other animals
  • Always clean up when you are done, etc.

Related: Dumpster Diving in Michigan

How much can you make as a dumpster diver in Pennsylvania?

Many dumpster divers in Pennsylvania go diving to get recyclables to sell and get profit from. Things like electronics, gadgets, and books fetch good money when sold. 

A lot of factors are involved in order to be able to answer how much a dumpster diver makes in Pennsylvania, such as time put in it, area, etc.

You can make up to $1800 a week if you put in a full-time effort in dumpster diving throughout the week. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is Garbage Picking illegal in Pennsylvania?

Answer – Picking/Grabbing it might be illegal in some cities in Pennsylvania as some of these cities have laws against scavenging.

  • What is the best time to go dumpster diving?

Answer – It’s best to go early in the morning because most grocery stores dispose of their refuse in the morning.   

  • Can you dumpster dive at Walmart?

Answer – Most Walmart stores are private properties, so it is not allowed to dumpster dive on private property. 

  • Why do stores lock their dumpsters?

Answer – Store locks their dumpsters to prevent people from dumping their refuse in them. It might also be due to the reason that people are always making a mess at the dumpster. 

Final Thoughts

Dumpster Diving in Pennsylvania is completely legal but you should also try as much as possible to know the laws in regard to dumpster diving in your city before engaging in it. 

Be sure to follow safety precautions when going dumpster diving at night and always lookout for a NO TRESPASSING sign before approaching any trash can to dive into to avoid getting charged or fined.

Pennsylvania is a good state to start your dumpster diving quest.   

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