United States of America

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The United States of America offer excellent opportunities for recovering trash.

For more detailed info on each place see "States of the USA" template at the bottom of the page.

Dumpster diving

Legal status

Because dumpsters are usually located on private premises, dumpster diving is illegal in some parts of the United States, though the law is enforced with varying degrees of rigor. The California v. Greenwood case in the U.S. Supreme Court held that there is no common law expectation of privacy for discarded materials. Dumpster diving per se is probably legal when not specifically prohibited by state or local law.

Police (and possibly other) searches of dumpsters and like discards are not violations; evidence seized in this way has been permitted in many criminal trials. The doctrine is less well established in regard to civil litigation.

Private investigators have written books on "P.I. technique" in which dumpster diving or its equivalent "wastebasket recovery" figures prominently.

Companies run by private investigators specializing in dumpster diving have sprung up around the country as a result of the need for discreet, undetected retrieval of documents and evidence for civil and criminal trials.


Some supermarkets have better dumpster diving possibilities than the others. See info on each one to know where it is best to go. Supermarket chains in US (in ABC order): Acme, Albertsons, Aldi, Baker's Supermarkets, Bigg's, Bloom, Bottom Dollar, Bristol Farms, Carrs, City Market, Costco Wholesale, County Market, Cub Foods, Dillon's, Dominick's, Farm Fresh, Food 4 Less, Food Emporium, Food Lion, FoodsCo, Fred Meyer, Fry's Food, Genuardi's, GIANT, Gordon Food Service, Hannaford, Harveys, Hilander, Hornbacher's, Jay C, Jewel (Jewel-Osco), Kash n' Karry, King Soopers, Kmart Supercenter, Kroger, Lazy Acres, Lucky Stores, QFC, Panera Bread Company, Pavilios, Piggly Wiggly, Ralphs, Randalls, Safeway Inc., Sam's Club, Save-A-Lot, Scott's Food & Pharmacy, Shaw's, Shop ' Save, Shoppers Food & Pharmacy, Smiths, Star Market, Sunflower Market, SuperTarget, Sweetbay Supermarket, Tom Thumb, Trader Joe's, Vons, Wal-Mart, Weis, Winn Dixie, Whole Foods Market

States of the USA (capital Washington, D.C.)

Alabama | Alaska | Arizona | Arkansas | California | Colorado | Connecticut | Delaware | Florida | Georgia | Hawaii | Idaho | Illinois | Indiana | Iowa | Kansas | Kentucky | Louisiana | Maine | Maryland | Massachusetts | Michigan | Minnesota | Mississippi | Missouri | Montana | Nebraska | Nevada | New Hampshire | New Jersey | New Mexico | New York | North Carolina | North Dakota | Ohio | Oklahoma | Oregon | Pennsylvania | Rhode Island | South Carolina | South Dakota | Tennessee | Texas | Utah | Vermont | Virginia | Washington | West Virginia | Wisconsin | Wyoming