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Why Dumpster Diving Is A Bad Idea And How You Can Prevent It

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You might think the interior of a dumpster is the last place someone might want to be, but the act of "dumpster diving" is not unusual. Persons not employed or affiliated with a company often search through the garbage; they are hoping to find objects of value--financial, practical or sentimental--and digging through trash doesn't hinder their quest. Unfortunately, the habit of dumpster diving can cause serious problems. Below are a few reasons why you don't want to permit dumpster diving in your company's garbage and how you can deter this activity from occurring:

Why dumpster diving should be discouraged

While dumpster diving may seem harmless or even amusing on its face, it actually has several possible negative outcomes:

  • Injury or death - The worst possible outcome of dumpster diving is that it can result in serious injury or even death for participants. Dumpsters can contain hazardous chemicals or objects that can harm intruders, and they are also capable of causing suffocation should someone become trapped and covered with garbage.

  • Financial loss - Along with the hazards posed for participants of dumpster diving, your company is exposed to financial loss through the potential for lawsuit in an injury or wrongful death case. In addition, some garbage can cost companies lost revenue if obtained by others. A few of these items can include video discs, blueprints and plans, computer hard drives, publications and prototypes or test products. For example, the accidental distribution of early, unreleased software can be costly, especially should it fall into the hands of competitors or users who might have otherwise paid a licensing fee.

  • Disorganization - The open pilfering of dumpsters is likely to cause a significant mess in the vicinity of the dumpster. Trash will be spread around the dumpster pad, and it will not only be unsightly, but it could also attract animal and insect pests of all kinds.

What you can do to prevent dumpster diving

Since dumpster diving is such a potentially hazardous and costly activity, it is important that companies pursue means of keeping intruders away from their dumpsters. Below are a few specific things you can do to prevent your dumpsters from being "invaded" by curious persons

  • Secure your dumpster and its site - A first step that can be taken is to barricade your dumpsters behind a fenced-in or walled-in pad; a locking gate can provide access to the dumpster pick-up vehicle. In addition, the use of locks on the dumpsters themselves is helpful by fastening lids or sliding side gates. However, be sure that your dumpster provider has ready access to the dumpster and won't be blocked from picking it up; this will require you to either share a key or ensure the gate is kept unlocked during the window of time when the pick-up occurs.

  • Shred or destroy certain objects - Another means of preventing the loss of potentially valuable items is to destroy the objects in question. For example, the use of compact disc (CD) shredders can turn laser disc media into tiny fragments of plastic within seconds. Be sure to shred all paper before disposing, especially if there is a reasonable chance it contains confidential information.

  • Be sure that employees understand disposal protocol - Your company's employees should be provided with training that provides them with clear instructions on how to handle garbage. Training should cover topics such as recycling, sorting and the physical destruction of items before they are dumped. This instruction will help keep employees in compliance and provide them with practical solutions for handling trash.

  • Recycle whenever possible - Though it isn't always possible or practical, recycling is a means of cutting down the amount of material entering the waste stream, and it can also reap positive benefits for companies by providing potentially-lucrative opportunities to recover waste products. For example, instead of tossing certain metals in a dumpster, recycling may enable those metals to be recovered for resale to a scrap metal dealer.

For more information on dumpster rentals and how to keep them secure, contact rental companies and visit websites like