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Is it legal for people to go through someone's trash?
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Is it legal for people to go through someone's trash?

There are various people who go through my trash looking for things they can recycle such as cans. They untie my tied up plastic bags, spilling my private trash from bathroom trash bag to kitchen stuff with all my torn up bills etc. Now that the weather's getting warm this attracts a lot of flies. Is it legal for them to be doing this?
Additional Details
What about if the trash bins are on my driveway, not on the sidewalk?


In the US, it's legal to search through someone's trash. It's not legal to trespass to do it and it's not legal to leave a mess.

trash is public property.. you can probably get them for making a big mess though..

ATTENTION: Testicles That Is All
If its on a public street or sidewalk I'm like 90% sure it is. Shred anything thats important.

Unfortunately, in 1988 the US Supreme Court ruled trash-picking is legal.

Unless your community has certain ordinances/restrictions regarding the issue, there isn't much you can do about it.

If also depends on where you keep your cans. If they are next to the curb they're up for grabs. If they are on your property, that's another story. You might wait until morning to set the cans out for pick-up instead of leaving them out over night. It's a pain in the butt, I know.

Get a shredder for your own protection, that's what I did.


Once you put it out on the curb it's abandoned and anyone can take it. Only exceptions would be if they are trespassing onto private property to do it. An example of this would be if it was in an apartment complex or in a gated community where the roads are not maintained by the county and the person collecting the trash is not a resident or otherwise authorized to be there.

Thats gotta be annoying. It's legal if the trash is outside on the curb of your driveway for the garbage man to come pick it up, the only time its illegal is if they're going through your trash while its on your property. Your driveway is considered to be your property so thats tresspassing.

Hellaskinny E
throw some anthrax in the trash, or a bunch of dead squirrels (both?)

contact you home association

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