Dumpster Diving in Texas [Updated For 2023]

Dumpster diving is a growing trend in Texas, as more and more people are looking for ways to save money and help the environment. From finding free furniture to uneaten food, dumpster diving has become an increasingly popular activity for Texans. But what exactly is dumpster diving? What can you find when you go dumpster diving in Texas? And most importantly, how do you stay safe while doing it? In this article, we will answer all these questions and more as we explore the realities of dumpster diving in Texas.

Dumpster Diving Laws in Texas

The Lone Star State is one of the most popular dumpster diving destinations in the country, with a whopping 181 shopping malls and thousands of apartment units. The good news is that there are a total of 18518 stores in these shopping centers and malls. Additionally, Terrell Hills, Highland Park, Celina, Bellaire, Southlake, West University Place, Prosper, and Fair Oaks Ranch are among the affluent Texas cities where dumpster diving is widespread. As a result, Texas has it all, whether you want to go dumpster diving in affluent districts or at shopping malls and retail stores.

In Texas, dumpster diving is legal as long as the diver does not trespass onto private property. There are many reasons why someone might choose to dumpster dive, such as looking for food or other items that can be reused or recycled.

Dumpster diving in Texas can be a great way to find food that would otherwise go to waste. However, it is important to be safe when dumpster diving and to only take what you need. Here are some tips for safe and successful dumpster diving in Texas:

  1. Check for signs that indicate whether or not dumpster diving is allowed before you start rummaging through the contents.
  2. If the dumpster is on private property, make sure you have permission from the owner before taking anything out.
  3. Be aware of your surroundings and watch out for sharp objects or other hazards that could injure you while you’re diving.
  4. Only take what you need, and be sure to leave the area clean when you’re finished so that others can enjoy dumpster diving as well.
Related: Dumpster Diving in New Mexico: A Comprehensive Guide

Is It Illegal To Dumpster Dive in Texas?

In Texas, it is generally legal to dumpster dive on public property. However, there are some exceptions. For example, it is illegal to dumpster dive in a trash can that is on private property. Additionally, it is illegal to trespass on private property in order to dumpster dive.

Moreover, while dumpster diving in Texas, you must follow your state’s trespassing laws as well as the ordinances and statutes of the city or municipality. In Texas, trespassing charges can be imposed for dumpster diving without authorization, as every business and private dwelling is considered private property.

Keep in mind, there are no regulations forbidding you from diving into dumpsters on public property, such as garbage pickup curbs, in most Texas cities.

According to the landmark United States Supreme Court case California v. Greenwood, a person or business has effectively abandoned ownership rights to anything left in public dumpsters across the country.

If you try to search through the dumpster while it is still inside a private residence in Texas, you could be prosecuted for trespass or theft. You could be prosecuted for trespassing if you approach private property to try dumpster diving despite a clearly visible No Trespassing sign, and the business in Texas has the right to permanently ban you from their premises. Unruly behavior, illegal dumping, and littering are just some of the charges that could be leveled at you.

As a result, if you need to open a gate, fence, or private property, you should avoid trash diving near those locations. Those aren’t the ideal spots to go trash diving in Texas, particularly if you don’t have all of the necessary permissions and licenses.

Is Dumpster Diving At Night Illegal In Texas?

Dumpster diving at night is legal in Texas. In actuality, whether you dive dumpsters during the day or at night, the constraints remain the same. Dumpster diving late at night in residential areas, on the other hand, appears to be highly risky and dangerous. It’s possible that a cop will be sent to your place. Furthermore, dumpster diving in Texas late at night draws a considerably larger competition. Most dumpster divers like to go dumpster diving at night because they seek privacy. Dumpster diving in Texas, in my opinion, is best done early in the morning or late at night.

Here are some things to keep in mind if you are planning to dumpster dive at night in Texas.

  • It is important to check with the property owner before diving into a dumpster on their property.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and what you are getting into. Dumpsters can contain hazardous materials. Therefore, it is important to be cautious when rummaging through them.
  • Be respectful of the property and do not make a mess. Finally, remember to take only what you need and leave the rest for others who may need it.

Best Places To Go Dumpster Diving In Texas

While it may not be the most glamorous activity, dumpster diving can be a great way to find free food and other items in Texas. Here are some of the best places to dumpster dive in Texas.

Grocery Stores

Grocery stores are a great place to find food that is still edible but has been discarded due to being past its expiration date or damaged packaging. Some of the best grocery stores to dumpster dive in Texas include Walmart, Kroger, and Foodarama.


Restaurants in Texas often throw away perfectly good food that has been unused or uneaten. This can be a great source of free food if you’re willing to dig through the garbage.

Office Buildings

Office buildings in Texas often have coffee machines and vending machines that dispense food and drinks. These items are often thrown away when they expire or run out. Therefore, check the dumpsters behind office buildings for these treasure trove items.

Colleges and Universities

Colleges and universities in Texas are another great source of free food as well as other useful items like furniture, electronics, and clothing. Dumpsters near dormitories are often full of unwanted items that students have discarded at the end of the semester.

How Much Money Can You Make Dumpster Diving In Texas?

The amount of money you can make dumpster diving in Texas is determined by a number of variables. Some people go dumpster diving purely for recyclable stuff, which they then sell and profit from. Others may desire to start dumpster diving in order to find food or groceries for their own use. In addition, many dumpster divers hunt for valuables such as gadgets, furniture, or books to sell on eBay or Facebook Marketplace.

It will be difficult to make a full-time living from garbage diving in Texas. I’m not implying that it’s impossible. A New York couple’s dumpster diving side venture earns them over $3000 each month. It’s proof that it’s doable. However, you’ll need to put in full-time effort and dedication if you want to make a full-time living dumpster diving in this state.

So, how much money can dumpster diving bring you in Texas? Well! We interviewed four professional full-time dumpster diving couples from Texas. They all agreed that if you commit full-time hours(40+ hours per week) to dumpster diving in Texas, you can make up to $3500 a month.

Final Thoughts

As I mentioned before, dumpster diving can be a great way to find some hidden gems. However, it’s important to be aware of the potential dangers involved. Make sure you’re always careful when rummaging through trash. You should never put yourself in a situation where you could be hurt or taken advantage of.

With that said, I hope this article has inspired you to go out and explore your local dumpsters. You never know what you might find!