Is Dumpster Diving Legal In Virginia? [Answered 2023]

Is dumpster diving illegal in Virginia

 Dumpster diving is not outlawed in Virginia but there’s some laws that can be used to press charges against divers. 

Virginia is a sweet locale for dumpster divers because of its large number of shopping centers, stores, etc. Besides shopping malls, numerous affluent towns are filled with valuable stuff in their bins. Dumpster diving is a efficient way to find reusable stuff for your personal use. It’s now also growing as a part-time source of income for many people.

Just like every other state, Virginia also has some rules and regulations set for dumpster divers. Every person interested in dumpster diving is concerned about the laws and legality regarding it, which is super important in order to avoid any troubles as there are steep penalties for outlawing any of these restrictions. In this article, we have covered almost every information you might need before going for your dumpster diving adventure in VA.

Is Dumpster Diving Legal In Virginia

No, it’s not illegal to dumpster dive in Virginia. There are no strict ordinances in the state prohibiting you from it. Yet, like every other state, there are some specific rules in Virginia too that you must remember before your dumpster experience to avoid overstepping any law e.g trespassing.

Dumpster Diving Laws In Virginia

Dumpster Diving Laws In Virginia 

Dumpster diving laws are pretty much the same no matter which US state you’re talking about. Anything you find in a public dumpster belongs to you and there are no restrictions on it.

There will be theft or trespassing charges in case of dumpster diving in a garbage container present on someone’s private premises. If you cross an area that has ‘no trespassing’ sign boards or is a private property, there is a possibility of imprisonment or fine if someone calls the cops.

Check Out Is Dumpster Diving Illegal in North Carolina?

Dumpster Diving Laws Virginia Cities

Dumpster Diving Virginia VA

Here we discuss it’s legality in different parts of Virginia.

Fairfax County  

Dumpster diving is legal in Fairfax County. While taking the laws into account, you are free to search through trash bins present in public areas.


Dumpster diving is rather common in Chesapeake, as it is entirely legal here. You just need to be cautious of the city laws as they come with abrupt penalties.


Digging for valuable items is not at all prohibited in Fredericksburg, only if you do it without violating the local trespassing and littering rules.


Like in every other city, dumpster diving is permitted in Chesterfield too. You can go search around the tins in public places.


Lynchburg, following the state’s law, has made dumpster diving lawful. Yet, you are not authorized to forage through waste on private properties.


There are no regulations forbidding dumpster diving in Charlottesville, other than the trespassing and littering laws.

Virginia Beach

Virginia beach has made dumpster diving easy for people without any particular laws besides littering and trespassing on confidential properties.

Newport News

In Newport News, there are no restrictions against dumpster diving. You are allowed to look around any garbage tins in public areas.


Trash diving is not against the law in Richmond. In fact, you are free to dive into dumpsters and search for any valuables.


Roanoke has permitted its people to dumpster dive in public places without forbidding any laws.

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Is Dumpster Diving Considered Stealing? 

Is Dumpster Diving Stealing

No, it’s not stealing as it’s made legal by the Government in all 50 states. It is considered a lawful act. However, you might get in trouble for breaking the local dumpster diving laws. Trespassing any private property or going through the trash that belongs to someone else without their permission, is believed as stealing.There are penalties for overruling the trespassing or littering laws.

Supreme Court Ruling On Dumpster Diving

Unless when it’s forbidden specifically by local municipal law, dumpster diving is lawful throughout the United States. According to the 1988 Supreme Court decision, when any item is thrown away by a person, it makes its place in the public realm & hence becomes public property.

It was quoted that plastic trash bags left on roadsides are well-known to be easily accessible to animals & scavengers, etc. However, you’ll be questioned if you’re seen dumpster diving in any dumpsters placed inside a private property with ‘no trespassing’ signs.

Making Money By Dumpster Diving

Dumpster diving is rising as a source of income for many people currently. If you are aware of your work and intentions, it’s possible to even make thousands of dollars every month. You never know what useful or resalable treasure you may find inside those garbage piles.

Dumpster Diving Tips 

  • Keep your focus and look around peacefully
  • Go for more than one dumpster areas every day
  • Make sure what you wanna search for
  • Try not to forget any fundamental tools that you may need
  • Carry an empty backpack to bring back any valuables you locate

Dumpster Diving Precautions 

  • Stay attentive to avoid any dangers
  • Your outfit should be suitable for the weather
  • Dumpsters can be full of bacteria and diseases, so wear your face mask
  • Wear gloves to avoid bare-hand touch with anything
  • Wearing covering bottoms may prevent injuries or cuts from sharp objects

Is It Legal To Take From Shop Bins? 

Yes, if they have made it clear by placing their bins in nearby public areas. It is, however, prohibited to invade their private property and take things from it.

Is Dumpster Diving At Night Illegal In Virginia? 

Is Dumpster Diving At Night Illegal In Virginia

No, the laws stay the same whether you dumpster dive in daytime or at night. It depends on whatever time suits you perfectly.


Dumpster diving is no less than a creative and eco-friendly act. It has become a source of making money for many people in Virginia. The local law allows people to hunt for treasure in trash bins.

JD Lipton