Dumpster diving today has become a surprisingly popular activity among contemporary treasure hunters. Labeling themselves as "urban foragers", dumpster divers regularly salvage pristine goods that can be used or sold.

The activity is particularly popular in Florida, so you may be wondering what the laws are like in The Sunshine State. Read on to find out.


Florida is one of the best states in the country for dumpster diving. Its large population combined with its retail industry creates the perfect environment for the activity. But is it legal?

Federal Law

On the federal level, dumpster diving gained its legality through the Supreme Court case California vs Greenwood (1988). The Supreme Court ruled that an item is part of the public domain when left out as trash. This ruling essentially means that it's legal to dumpster dive on public property.

State Law

There is nothing in Florida law that prohibits dumpster diving. But there are a couple of additional laws that you should be mindful of.

Trespassing is, of course, illegal in Florida. This means dumpster diving on private property is forbidden unless you receive the permission of the landowner. Littering is also illegal, so you should be sure not to leave a mess behind you. The same goes for vandalism. If you damage the dumpster you're diving in then you could get into trouble.

Cities in Florida

Local jurisdictions can set their own laws for dumpster diving. Here we review the laws for some of the largest cities in Florida:


We could not find any laws against dumpster diving in the Jacksonville city code.


We could not find any laws against dumpster diving in the Orlando city code.


We could not find any laws against dumpster diving in the Miami city code.


With the federal and state laws on your side, you should be able to enjoy the hobby in The Sunshine State.

Disclaimer: The information stated in this article should not be considered legal advice.