With the high cost of everything these days, I do not judge how people make ends meet.

More and more people are turning to more unorthodox solutions to pay their bills, including dumpster diving.

Would you?

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What Is Dumpster Diving?

Credit: Canva
Credit: Canva

It is essentially what you think it is.

Wikipedia defines it as,

"Dumpster diving (also totting,[1] skipping,[2] skip diving or skip salvage[3][4]) is salvaging from large commercial, residential, industrial and construction containers for unused items discarded by their owners but deemed useful to the picker. It is not confined to dumpsters and skips specifically and may cover standard household waste containers, curb sides, landfills or small dumps."

Is It Legal to Dumpster Dive in Michigan?

Well, the Michigan law may be on your side.

It is completely allowed in Michigan to go through dumpsters. However, you need to make sure that you are not violating the state's trespassing laws.

"If you try to search through a dumpster situated on someone’s private property in Michigan, you could be accused of either trespassing or theft. For these reasons, it’s advisable to avoid dumpster diving near gated areas, fences, or private properties unless you have obtained the necessary permissions and permits. These locations are not ideal for trash diving in Michigan, especially without proper authorization."

Plus, certain Michigan cities or municipalities have their own ordinances and regulations pertaining to dumpster diving.


Dumpster Diving.com shared that unauthorized dumpster dives can become problematic for you.

"Unauthorized dumpster diving may lead to trespassing charges, as businesses and private residences are generally considered private property."

In all, most cities in Michigan do not have any specific restrictions about dumpster diving in public locations.

What Michigan Cities Have Ordinances About Dumpster Diving?


In the city of Detroit, you cannot simply dumpster dive for fun at random.

"The Detroit Municipal Code of Regulations, specifically § 22-3-1, prohibits the collection, disturbance, and relocation of trash from city streets, alleys, or public areas unless a license is obtained."

If you violate this, you can get fined up to $500 and possibly prison time.

In the city of Warren, its city ordinance code says that dumpster diving is prohibited.

"The city ordinance code of Warren enforces section 16-5 (a), which prohibits the unauthorized collection, removal, or pick up of any garbage or reusable materials kept by the curbside. Nevertheless, individuals wishing to collect such waste items can acquire a license from the city clerk, known as the junk peddler license."

In the city of Ann Arbor, they have a local ordinance that makes dumpster diving illegal.

"Ann Arbor enforces a local ordinance titled “Scavenging and Unauthorized Storage” that forbids the gathering or removal of solid waste or recyclables that have been set out for collection by the city."

Where Are The Best Places To Dumpster Dive In Michigan?

Dumpster Diving shared that these 5 places are the best places for people who want to dumpster dive.

  1. Shopping Centers
  2. Affluent Neighborhoods
  3. Cosmetic Stores
  4. Construction Sites
  5. Garage and Yard Sales

Will you be dumpster diving soon?

Michigan's Cleanest City: Detroit