Dumpster Diving at Walmart: Legal or Illegal?

If you are wondering how to start your dumpster diving quest at Walmart, you have come to the right place. In this article, we will discuss all the legalities of dumpster diving at Walmart and also go into the strategies to make the most out of your dumpster diving quest.

Dumpster Diving at Walmart

Walmart is one of the largest US-based corporations operating a chain of 11,484 retail stores across 27 countries. Retail stores like Walmart have adopted great return and refund policies. This means if I return a gadget but the packaging is already damaged, it can’t go back to shelves. Most of the time, it ends up in a dumpster at Walmart. Therefore, while dumpster diving at Walmart, you often find goodies with damaged packaging.

Moreover, Walmart sells everything from groceries and electronics to furniture and books. This makes Walmart a great place to go dumpster diving and find a variety of items.

The process of dumpster diving involves individuals salvaging the waste from the dumpsters and finding items that have some value to them. Dumpster diving may involve both commercial and residential locations.

Related: How to start a dumpster Rental Business

Understand the Dumpster Diving Laws in your State

Before you start your dumpster diving quest at Walmart, you need to understand the dumpster diving laws of your state. Generally speaking, dumpster diving is legal in all the US states. However, you need to keep in mind that your actions must not conflict with your city, county, or state ordinances.

Additionally, if the dumpster has been left in a public domain such as a curb or sideways for pickup, an individual or the business has basically forfeited their ownership rights to the items. However, if the dumpster is still inside the private property, you could be cited for trespass or even for theft if you try to rummage through the dumpster.

Is it illegal to dumpster dive at Walmart?

It is not illegal to dumpster dive at Walmart per se. However, since most of the Walmart stores are considered private property, you need to make sure there are no trespassing restriction signs clearly visible in the location. If you do not see such a sign, that’s a green signal.

On the other hand, if you can clearly see the No Trespassing sign at Walmart and still went to rummage through their trash, you may be cited for trespassing. This may be 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 a Walmart location and someone from the management asks you to leave the location, you must leave the location immediately.

What to look for while dumpster diving at Walmart?

The items you would want to look for, while dumpster diving, highly depends on your wants and needs. Some people may choose to dumpster dive at Walmart in order to collect recyclable items that they can turn in for cash. While some look for food and grocery items. 

Generally speaking, you would want to look for items with high re-sell value. Items like electronics, office furniture, clocks, DVDs, headphones, and charging cables are considered treasures while dumpster diving at Walmart. 

What is the best time to go dumpster diving at Walmart?

The best time to go dumpster diving at Walmart is early morning, after the sunrise. This is because there are fewer employees working at this time and you will have a high chance of not being interrupted. Moreover, Walmart stocks its shelves at night and this means you will find everything from groceries to electronics at this time of the day.

A lot of people also prefer going dumpster diving at night right, after the closing times. However, it looks really sketchy and more dangerous to go dumpster diving at night. The chance of getting a cop called on you is also high. Additionally, there may also be a lot of competition while dumpster diving at night since most people prefer privacy while dumpster diving at Walmart.

We asked 23 full-time dumpster divers, the optimal time to go dumpster diving at Walmart. And the best time seems to be from 4 am to 6 am.

How much money can you make dumpster diving at Walmart?

You can make some serious cash by dumpster diving at Walmart. However, most of it will highly depend on your luck and experience. We did a survey among 23 full-time dumpster divers from the US and the results were surprising, to say the least. We found out that, dumpster divers were making an average of $363.26 a week from Walmart alone.

A lot of dumpster divers I know, do this as a way of making money. They find valuable items from dumpsters and sell them online through eBay or Facebook Marketplace.

Dumpster diving is a great way to make some extra cash if you don’t mind getting your hands dirty. However, it may not be enough to replace your full-time job when just starting out. Therefore, I would highly recommend getting into dumpster diving as a side hustle. When you get enough experience and start making a good income, you may consider dumpster diving full-time.

Final Thoughts

Always remember a few things when dumpster diving at Walmart. The first is to leave the premises immediately if someone from the management told you to. Secondly, thoroughly disinfect each item even if it looks clean. And lastly, always have a plan and strategy before going dumpster diving.