Dumpster Diving? $1,000 fine, or year in Jail.

Via on Jun 1, 2010

University of Colorado police say: turning Trash into Treasure is illegal.

Via New Era News‘ Lauren Egdahl.

‘Tis a sad day when the fun of dumpster diving is ripped away from us.

Who would have known the age old saying “your trash is my treasure” no longer holds true and that if you do decide to dive into the pool of riches we have come to know as dumpsters, you could be penalized with either a $1,000 fine or up to a year in jail?

It seems that CU police have imposed a ban on the art of, ‘dumpster diving,’ implying that there are security threats related to people hopping into buckets of waste. Clearly they don’t know what they are talking about.

Sure, there is the possibility of cuts and scrapes on hazardous objects or the possibility that one may ‘accidently’ cause a fire of massive proportions that happens to be the coolest thing anyone has ever seen; but ultimately, there is a ton of junk that is thrown away that others would find to be junkalicious.

To rebut this point, CU police have recognized the drop-off centers that are scattered throughout campus for people to donate instead of throw things away. However, last time I checked freshmen in the dorms are not the most motivated people in the world and would most likely rather carry their furniture, old clothes, etc several feet to the dumpster outside of their building than carry it all across campus.

The argument stands that by creating this ban, things that could be reused are going to waste. Another irrefutable point is that CU police are worried about non-students getting into the dumpsters. AKA—they don’t want homeless people on campus rummaging through trash. It’s a good thing we are so giving and considerate of the needs of our community.

How ’bouts we put a separate dumpster that is for donation outside of the dorms that will later be dropped off at drop-off centers? Skip a step and still allow people to enjoy the stuff that others don’t want any more while avoiding health and security issues related to people dumpster diving. There’s an idea.

All I can say is that I hope that this ban doesn’t seep out into the rest of Boulder. Yes, it may be creepy to walk out to the dumpster with your trash and stumble upon a little man investigating the condition of a ripped T-shirt that was thrown away (not that this has ever happened to me), but at least someone is benefiting from someone else’s trash. To a lesser extreme, let’s think about all of the tables, chairs, and couches thrown away simply because people are too lazy to go to Salvation Army. What if we couldn’t take that stuff out, make a trip to a sterilizing center (I hope), and use it.

Bottom line: We live in Boulder and I believe there is a famous quote that many Boulderites live by that says, “reduce, reuse, recycle.” If this doesn’t optimize dumpster diving to a tee, then I don’t know what does. Perhaps instead of the “No Trespassing” signs, we were to say “Trespass at Your Own Risk and Please Don’t Start a Fire,” this whole issue could be avoided and we could continue to reap the benefits of getting free shit, even if it means we have to submerge ourselves in trash to get there.

About News

Andrew Whitehead is a soon-to-be graduate of the University of Colorado Boulder with a degree in Environmental Studies. He grew up in the grand country of Ireland, which is probably where he began to develop his exquisite beer palate. After moving to Wayne, Pennsylvania, Andrew became seriously passionate about the environment and strives to spread his awareness with anyone willing to listen. In his free time he loves to play hockey and soccer as well as go hiking. All that know him well fear his obsession with goats will land him a staring role on the well-known American TV show “Hoarders”.

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7 Responses to “Dumpster Diving? $1,000 fine, or year in Jail.”

  1. Zaskoda says:

    Irresponsible employees often throw away documents with sensitive information such as logins and passwords to computer systems or routing and account numbers for financial accounts.

    Still, dumpster diving being a crime is intensely idiotic.

  2. Tee says:

    It’s a sad, sad world when those of us who try to keep as much *out* of landfills as possible are the bad guys here.

  3. Alexandra says:

    being a CU alum, i also remember the university and the city of having, despite (or maybe in spite), a tradition of draconian local laws, like the no more than 4-5 unrelated ppl in a house, in a city with quite a few large victorians (i lived in one with 5 bedrooms, we simply moved 1/2 the furniture out and a couple left for a few days when we knew we were going to be “audited”), & a sore lack of student housing, maybe it’s been improved since i was there, but tent cities for freshman for more than a month were the norm….

  4. Rick Gilbert says:

    this is purely a guess, and please feel free to correct me–but most large institutions impose rules/regulations/etc. for two main reasons: to avoid lawsuits or as a result of already being sued. so the logic goes: someone dives in a dumpster (at night to avoid too much detection), it’s dark so he/she can’t see the whole dumpster, and he/she gets punctured by something pretty unseemly and goes to the ER. Said person sues, and the school settles out of court for a high five-figure sum. maybe it’s already happened (these cases aren’t widely publicized), or their risk managers/lawyers are worried that it’s going to happen.

    like I said–just a guess. it does seem like a silly rule–but people file claims (frivolous and valid) against entities with deep pockets ALL THE TIME.

  5. That's just not right. There are so many cool things being created by dumpster divers! And what about people who are looking for food?

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