Is it illegal to dumpster dive at Walmart?

Walmart is a US-based retail corporation operating chains of discount stores and grocery stores. Sam Walton found the company in 1969. They also own a retail store chain by the name of Sam’s Club. The company owns and operates 11,484 stores across 27 countries.  Most of the customers would like to know – Is dumpster diving illegal at Walmart?

We will cover this in detail in our article

Recently, the company has made some significant investments in the Indian e-commerce chain Flipkart.

The company takes different forms of payments. However, as far as digital payments are concerned the company launched Walmart Pay in 2015 and it only accepts Walmart Pay as an integrated form of payment.

Is it Illegal to Dumpster Dive at Walmart

In the US there is no law making dumpster diving illegal. However, local authorities might put restrictions on dumpster diving. Stores such as Walmart and Target do not term dumpster diving as illegal but they put restrictions on people, trying to get into the property illegally.

Dumpsters are generally located inside the property, so it gets difficult for people to get in there.

What is Dumpster Diving?

Dumpster Diving

In the basic terms, dumpster diving involves salvaging waste/unused materials in large industrial, retail, construction, residential, and commercial waste/dumping containers to find valuable items that are of no use to the original owner.

In most of the cases, people go to the trash sites, where owners put their trash and people who need them can take them from there.

Dumpster diving is not only limited to commercial locations but also involves residential locations.

There are a few people that look for dumpster diving as an opportunity to earn money, while for the most of the people it is not a source of earning extra money but of living, as they do this for earning their living out of it.

Some look for materials and some try to find metals that can be sold in the market.

And there are others who dumpster dive for food.

There are a lot of homeless people, who prefer finding clothes and food for themselves so that they can live for the day.

Nowadays dumpster diving is a full-blown profession and some people make a lot of money out of it.

Popular Items Picked During Dumpster Diving

Popular Items During Dumpster Diving

Dumpster diving can be different for people living in developed countries and developing countries.

For instance, in developed countries, you will see more people looking for food in trash cans as compared to developing countries, where food is rarely thrown away. Moreover, Walmart does not make dumpster diving illegal.

Based on items there are a few items that are quite popular among dumpster divers. Following is the list of items:

Food: People in most of the developing countries, do not throw food and it is only thrown if it has become uneatable and will not be good for the health of people, as these countries face a shortage of food and people take a keen interest in conserving food.

However, the case is not the same for developed nations, where 40 to 50 percent of food is wasted; people can gather a lot more food from the dumped sites outside restaurants or residential places.

In developed countries, there are non-government organizations that collect the wasted food from restaurants and they distribute it to poor and needy folks.

Most of the countries have placed the Good Samaritan Food Donation Act, so restaurants and hotels donate food to the people in need, but more often, because of health laws or company policy, companies are bound to discard the food due to health concerns around spoiled food

Books: Books are also counted among the most wanted materials in dumpster diving voyage. Book lovers will definitely look for the free of cost reads in the trash site of any publication or book house.

Most of the time, book houses are not able to clear their outstanding merchandise for a particular year and they resort to throwing the books in the trash site of the publication by tearing off the front page.

Though readable, many damaged publications have disclaimers and legal notices against their existence or sale.

Damaged goods: Offices, factories, department stores, and other commercial establishments are also known to throw the damaged items after a specific period of use by their employees, and these establishments order new inventory through their new goods.

Moreover, employees in these places intentionally throw the products in trash cans, these are the items that can be used by a little overhauling and people working there prefer throwing them instead of wasting their time on those items.

People searching for dumped goods can find good items, which can work for years, only by little or no maintenance

Returned items: When people return products to the company, due to manufacturing defect, manufacturers look for the condition of the product, if they find that the condition of the product is not repairable and it would cost more than the cost of the newer product, they will prefer giving the new product to the consumer and will dump it instead.

People tend to find a lot of the expensive products in the trash sites, where manufacturers dump these items

School Supplies: After the closing of one year, there are many books and tailor-made stationery that is not useful for the school authorities, so they throw the items or give it to the old stationery or booksellers, who sell them at reduced costs to underprivileged students

Electronic waste: Electronic waste is the major item that is dumped due to rapid depreciation, obsolescence, the cost to repair, or expense to upgrade.

Owners of electronic items prefer dumping their computers or video games, rather than repairing it. There are a lot more items that have a technology, which dates back to a decade and it is not advisable to use the technology now since it has gone obsolete.

The case is with CFT displays, which have been replaced by LEDs and LCDs and many of the mobile phones. Electronic waste dumping is a huge market and many of the developed countries dump their electronic waste in developing countries.

More often these items are buried in the ground, due to their radioactive properties or are recycled back to useful goods

Clothing: There are a lot of the people in the developed and developing countries that are deprived of clothes and struggle to find clothes at different stores.

Companies source clothes for 2 seasons together and if they find that most of their inventory has not been sold and it has gone out of the fashion, they will prefer discarding the inventory right away and their trash sites.

Many of the charity organizations work to collect torn or discarded pieces of clothes from these stores and send them to needy people so that they have something to wear in harsh weather conditions

Metal: Near iron or steel mills there is a lot of scraps that are accumulated over time and if this scrap is sold to the companies who recycle products it is of great value

Wood: Wood is also the major item that is dumpster-dived by the people for home heating purposes. Industries dealing in wood-based products are having a lot of wood that is thrown and can be used by people for home heating and fuel purposes.

Popular Places to go Dumpster Diving

Here are some of the famous and popular places to go dumpster diving:

Rich Neighbourhood

Dumpster Diving in Rich Neighborhoods

We all know that rich people go with trends and they like to replenish their stores with new and trendy pieces of items and they prefer throwing such items that are of no use to them and poor or needy people can always go in these areas and they will always find the items of their use.

However, people need to keep themselves away from the private property, because they will not allow anyone to trespass their property at any cost, the best way is to look for trash cans along the sides of the road and not in the area close to public property.

Mega Malls and Retail Stores

Dumpster Diving at Retail Store

There are a few stores that are famous for dumpster diving such as Walmart and Target, these stores throw the items that they do not need in trash cans and people usually find the items of their need in these stores

Three of the most popular retailers to dumpster dive at are Ulta, Five Below, and Game Stop.

There are also a few retailers such as Ultra, Five Below and Game Stop that is popular among people looking for stuff.

These retailers more often receive the worn out or defective pieces that are no use for them and they usually throw them in the trash can or at their dumpsters and people find a lot of clothes there.


Walmart has not made dumpster diving illegal at any of its places and allows people to pick trash from its stores.

We hope that your question – Is it illegal to dumpster dive at Walmart? is answered.

We have tried our best to provide the best of insights and information related to the legality and description of dumpster diving at Walmart.

We understand that there are always a few queries or questions that are left unanswered and you can always ping us in case you feel that a certain section is missing.

We hope that you got your answers related to dumpster diving. You can share your experiences in the comment section below.

You can also read our other articles about the cancellation policy of Walmart, EZ-Pass at Walmart and Walmart return policy.

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