Dumpster Diving at Costco: Everything You Need to Know!

If you are a dumpster diving fanatic like me and looking for a guide on dumpster diving at Costco, you’ve come to the right place. In this extensive article, I’ll provide you with everything you need to know in order to have a successful dumpster diving quest at your nearest Costco store. Moreover, I will also discuss the legalities and some of the best strategies while dumpster diving at Costco. Let’s get started!

Dumpster Diving at Costco

Dumpster diving is the act of rescuing rubbish from dumpsters and locating valuable goods. The majority of dumpster divers are looking for valuable items for personal use. Dumpster diving, on the other hand, has become a popular way to supplement one’s income in recent years.

Costco is one of the largest American Multinational Corporations operating a chain of membership-only retail stores. This membership-only wholesale store offers one of the best shopping experiences to its customers by providing great customer support and return/refund policies. This means if I return an item to Costco but the packaging is already damaged, it can’t go back on the shelves of Costco. Most of the time it will go through the compactor, or if the compactors are busy, it’ll find its home in the dumpsters. Therefore, while dumpster diving at Costco, you often find products with damaged or altered packaging.

Furthermore, Costco sells everything from furniture to groceries. This makes Costco a great place to go dumpster diving and find a variety of products with high resale value. However, most Costco stores have trash compactors. Of course, there is sometimes a dumpster for overflow, but the sides are 12+ ft tall and really hard to get access to. You need to be really quick while dumpster diving at Costco because the trash is not going to be there for very long.

Related: Dumpster Diving at Sephora: Everything You Need to Know!

Is it illegal to Dumpster Dive at Costco?

Like every other store, it is not illegal to dumpster dive at Costco. However, you need to remember that Costco is private property and you need to make sure that there are no trespassing signs clearly visible on the premise before dumpster diving in Costco. Even if you see no such signs, the management has still all the right to tell you to leave their property immediately.

On the other hand, if you can clearly see the No Trespassing sign at Costco and still went to rummage through their dumpster, you may be cited for trespassing. This may lead to a lifetime ban. Or at worse, you may be charged with disorderly conduct, illegal dumping, or littering.

Therefore, if you are dumpster diving at Costco and someone from the management asks you to leave the premise, you must leave immediately.

Additionally, I would also recommend you go over the laws and regulations for dumpster diving in your state to be 100% sure that you are not breaking any state laws while dumpster diving at your local Costco.

What is the best time to Dumpster Dive at Costco?

Most of the Costco stores open at 10 AM and close their doors at 9 PM on Monday through Friday. On weekends, they usually operate from 11 AM to 6 PM.

According to some Costco employees, their stores usually restock their shelves four to five times a week, usually between Mondays to Fridays. Keep in mind that there is no fixed schedule and time for restocking at Costco, but once the store receives new shipments, employees refill the shelves right away, or if the shipment arrives in the evening, they will restock the next day.

Therefore, the best time to go dumpster diving at Costco is 10 AM to 12 AM from Monday to Friday. This is because there are fewer employees working at this time inside the store and you will have a high chance of not being interrupted. Moreover, since new shipments in Costco usually arrive early in the morning, you’ll have a better chance of finding treasures in Costco’s dumpsters.

Weekends are also a great time to explore the Costco dumpsters. Since the foot traffic at Costco is highest during the weekends, the store expects to receive a higher number of returns during these days. Since we already understand that Costco dumps and destroys the returns with damaged packaging, you may find a lot of returned items at Costco dumpsters during the weekends.

What to look for while Dumpster Diving at Costco?

The goods you’ll want to look for while trash diving at Costco are mostly determined by your goals and wants. Some people go dumpster diving at Costco to collect free products to sell. Some individuals are hunting for these products for their own personal use.

In general, you should look for items that have a high resale value. Furniture, electronics and gadgets, cosmetics and beauty products, cleaning products, and outdoor accessories are all considered gems while dumpster diving at Costco.

Also, remember that discovering one product worth $20 is always preferable to finding 20 goods worth $1 each while dumpster diving at Costco.

Does Costco destroy returns?

Unfortunately, Costco is notorious for destroying returns and defective items from its shelves. If a product’s seal is broken, even if it hasn’t been used, Costco must either destroy it, send it back to production units, or throw it in the dumpster to be properly destroyed. 100% of Costco’s waste is sent through the compactor, and any returns that aren’t send back to the manufacturer (or resalable) are thoroughly destroyed. Therefore, if you want to find good products in Costco’s dumpsters, you’ll need to act really quick.

How much money can you make Dumpster Diving at Costco?

Dumpster diving at Costco might earn you a lot of money. However, the majority of it will be determined by your luck and experience. We conducted a survey of 15 full-time dumpster divers from Kentucky, and the results were, to say the least, unexpected. Dumpster divers were earning an average of only $126.83 per week from Costco alone, according to our findings.

In comparison, it is 3 times less than dumpster diving at other stores like Ulta or Sephora. The reason behind this is that Costco doesn’t throw away returned items in dumpsters. Rather they destroy it with a compactor. Therefore, I would highly recommend spending your time dumpster diving in other stores. You will need to be really lucky to find something worthy in Costco’s dumpster.

If you don’t mind getting your hands dirty and testing your luck, dumpster diving at Costco is still a good way to generate some extra cash. When you’re just starting out, however, it might not be enough to replace your full-time employment. As a result, I would strongly advise beginning with dumpster diving at Costco as a side hustle. You might pursue dumpster diving full-time once you’ve gained enough experience and are earning a good and steady income.

Final Thoughts

When dumpster diving at Costco, keep a few things in mind. The first is to leave the premises as soon as possible if you are directed to do so by management. Furthermore, disinfect each object thoroughly, even if it appears to be clean. Finally, before trash diving at Costco, always make sure you have a plan and technique in place.