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Dumpster Diving in Tennessee

Dumpster diving has become popular over the years in most states, and Tennessee is not left out. 

Have you been considering starting a dumpster diving quest?

Are curious about knowing all about dumpster diving in Tennessee and the laws behind it? 

If you are in search of answers to those questions, then you are in the right place. In this article, you will find all you need to know about dumpster diving in Tennessee.

Dumpster Diving in Tennessee

Tennessee has 40 shopping centers with over 3500 plus stores and thousands of residential units which is why the state is one of the most famous dumpster diving states. 

The Volunteer State has cities like Farragut, Collierville, Germantown, Lookout Mountain, Owasso, Brentwood, Oak Hill, and Belle Meade that are known for a high rate of dumpster diving. 

Whether you want to go scavenging in residential areas, malls, stores, etc Tennessee has it all. 

Is Dumpster Diving Illegal in Tennessee?

Dumpster diving in Tennessee

In all the states in the United States of America (USA), dumpster diving is legal, ‌making it legal in Tennessee. 

This does not mean that all the cities in Tennessee don’t have their various laws on dumpster diving. 

It is very important to know about the law of the city you are in before engaging in dumpster diving. 

In Tennessee, all companies are considered private properties and you will be charged with trespassing if caught diving into trash cans without permission. 

Dumpster diving without a permit can lead to getting charged with trespassing, loitering, etc. These charges can have heavy fines or jail terms attached to them. 

However, there are no laws preventing you from diving into any dumpster placed in a public place, as the owner has lost the right to ownership. 

Is Dumpster Diving Legal in Jackson?

There are no laws against dumpster diving in Jackson, only that they will charge and fine you 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 based on the incident. 

You can be fined for loitering in Jackson. 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 Nashville?

In Nashville, dumpster diving is legal as there is no law under the city’s ordinance stating that it is illegal to dumpster dive in Nashville.  

However, most of the dumpsters in Nashville are placed on private properties with a NO TRESPASSING sign. 

Going into these private properties to dumpster dive is considered as illegal as you could be charged with trespassing, loitering, etc. 

Is dumpster diving illegal in Chattanooga?

It’s not illegal to dumpster dive or take items from dumpsters in Chattanooga. While dumpster diving is not illegal in Chattanooga, you could be caught, charged with trespassing, and fined.

There are trespassing laws that could get you in trouble if violated. So always look out for a NO TRESPASSING sign or stay away from private properties. 

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

In Tennessee, the amount of profit you make from dumpster diving is dependent on factors like:

  • What you are collecting like recyclables, gadgets, electronics, groceries, furniture, etc. These items are worth more than the others when sold. 
  • The amount of time you put into it, etc.

You can make up to $3000 per month as a dumpster in Tennessee, but you have to be a full-time dumpster diver to be able to make as much as that. 

Places to go Dumpster Diving in Tennessee

Tennessee offers a lot of places you can go to dumpster dive, which is why the state is known to be one of the places dumpsters consider when starting their quest. 

Some the places are:

  • Toy stores
  • Garage sales
  • Retail stores
  • Book shops
  • Strip stores, etc

Safety Rules/Tips for Dumpster Divers

You can adhere to the following safety tips as a dumpster diver. There are:

  1. Always wear clothes with long sleeves and long trousers to cover your arms and legs.
  2. Put on shoes that cover your toes to avoid running into nails or snakes.
  3. Use a long pole to search through trash cans. Avoid using your hands or put on gloves if you must.
  4. Do not enter private properties without getting permission 
  5. Always clean up the mess made while searching through the trash can. 

Related: Dumpster Diving in Mississippi

Frequently Asked Question

  • What’s the best time to go dumpster diving?

Answer – The best time to go dumpster diving is early in the morning. Most stores dispose of their refuse early in the morning. 

  • What stores are best for dumpster diving?

Answer – Big box stores are the best you can go to. You can find free items like clothes, gadgets, electronics, etc. in their dumpster.

  • How much money can you make dumpster diving?

Answer – This depends on the amount of time you put into it and what you collect. with full-time diving, you can make up to $3000 monthly. 

  • What should I look for when dumpster diving?

Answer – You can collect recyclables, groceries, food to make compost, electronics, etc. 

  • Can you get infected by dumpster diving?

Answer – There is also a possibility of becoming ill from bacteria, especially in the summer; the dumpsters themselves breed bacteria and get sprayed with pesticides.


Dumpster diving in Tennessee is legal but each city in Tennessee has the right to make its own law as it deems fit. 

That is why it is very important to be aware of the laws governing the city you are in before you start dumpster diving. 

Adhere to safety tips and precautions to avoid attacks and getting charged with trespassing, loitering, etc. which could attract heavy fines based on the situation. 

Tennessee is definitely a place you would like to start your quest. 

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