Dumpster Diving in California: A Comprehensive Guide

You’ve come to the right place if you’re looking for a guide to start your dumpster diving adventure in California. Well! Understanding your state’s rules and regulations is a great place to start. In this comprehensive instructional guide, we’ll go through a variety of trash diving strategies and legalities in California. Along the way, I’ll give you some advice on how to make the most of your treasure hunting quest.

Dumpster Diving in California

With 279 shopping malls and tens of thousands of residential units, California is one of the most popular garbage diving sites in the country. The good news is that these shopping centers and malls contain a total of 29,551 stores. Dumpster diving is common in affluent California areas such as Atherton, Woodside, Pacifica, Hidden Hills, Beverly Hills, Los Altos Hills, Portola Valley, and Malibu. As a result, whether you want to go trash diving in affluent neighborhoods or at shopping malls and retail stores, California offers it all.

Related: Dumpster Diving in Nevada: A Comprehensive Guide

Is Dumpster Diving Illegal in California?

Dumpster diving is not prohibited in California. In fact, dumpster diving is entirely legal in this state. You must, however, adhere to your state’s trespassing laws as well as the city or municipality’s policies and statutes. Dumpster diving without permission can result in trespassing charges in California, as every company and private residence is considered private property.

In most California cities, there are no laws prohibiting you from diving into dumpsters on public property, such as garbage pickup curbs.

A person or business has virtually abandoned ownership rights to everything placed in public dumpsters across the country, according to the historic United States Supreme Court case California v. Greenwood.

You could be charged with trespass or theft if you try to search through the dumpster while it is still inside a private house in California. If you approach private property to try dumpster diving despite a clearly visible ‘No Trespassing’ sign, you could be charged with trespassing, and the business in California has the right to permanently prohibit you from their premises. Unruly behavior, illegal dumping, and littering are just a few of the accusations you could face.

As a result, you should avoid trash diving near gates, fences, or private property if you need to open one. Those aren’t the best places in California to go trash diving, especially if you don’t have all of the appropriate licenses and permits.

Is Dumpster Diving at night illegal in California?

In California, dumpster diving at night is absolutely legal. In reality, the limits are the same whether you dive dumpsters during the day or at night. Trash scavenging in residential neighborhoods late at night, on the other hand, appears to be risky. It’s possible that a police officer will be dispatched to your location. Furthermore, trash diving late at night in California attracts a much larger crowd. Because they prefer seclusion, most dumpster divers prefer to go dumpster diving at night. Dumpster diving in California is best done early in the morning or late at night, in my opinion.

Best places to go dumpster diving in California

In California, there are various dumpster diving locations. However, I’ve compiled a list of the best areas to start garbage diving for money in California.

  1. Construction Sites
  2. Shopping Malls
  3. Garage Sales
  4. Cosmetic Stores
  5. Hardware Stores
Related: Dumpster Diving at Walmart: Legal or Illegal?

How much money can you make dumpster diving in California?

A variety of factors influence how much money you can make dumpster diving in California. Some people go dumpster diving solely for the purpose of finding recyclable items to sell and profit from. Others may wish to begin garbage diving in order to obtain food or groceries for personal consumption. In addition, many dumpster divers look for goods to sell on eBay or Facebook Marketplace, such as electronics, furniture, or books.

Garbage diving will be difficult to sustain as a full-time job in California. I don’t mean to imply that it’s impossible. Dumpster diving is a side hustle for a New York couple that makes them over $3000 each month. It’s proof that it’s possible, but if you want to earn a full-time living dumpster diving in California, you’ll need to put in full-time effort and attention.

So, how much money can you make trash diving in California? Well! We spoke with six full-time professional garbage diving couples from California. They all agreed that trash diving in California can pay up to $4500 per month if you devote full-time hours (40+ hours per week).

Final Thoughts

In California, dumpster diving is not unlawful. However, dumpster diving may be forbidden in your city or county. As a result, double-check each municipality’s city code, which can be found on the internet. Keep in mind the “Trespass after Notice” statute in California, as well as municipal limits, and use your own common sense.