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Is Dumpster Diving Illegal in Iowa? Get a Better Understanding!

is dumpster diving illegal in iowa

Want to try dumpster diving in Iowa and don’t know much about the laws there? We got you!

Dumpster diving is a lucrative side hustle opportunity to earn some more bucks. You can even pursue it full-time once you are an established dumpster diver. However, before you get started, it’s always a great idea to have a complete know-how of the laws, rules, and regulations of the activity in the state.

Let’s learn how the law in the US sees dumpster diving in Iowa.

Dumpster Diving in Iowa

Dumpster diving and Iowa make the perfect pair. There’s no legal restriction for dumpster divers in the state (as there is none all over the USA). But, yes, you must be mindful of your state’s and county’s local laws about trespassing.

If we look at the dumpster diving destinations in Iowa, you’ll find plenty of them.

With almost 14 shopping centers and 1618 shops in those shopping centers and malls, you have bundles of opportunities to make your dumpster dive a success.

Besides, you can also head towards affluent residential areas to find gems in the trash cans that can make some bucks for you. Let us name a few of such places for you:

  • Des Moines
  • Kirkwood Glen
  • Valley High Manor
  • Newton
  • Drake Park
  • Waveland Woods
  • Salisbury Oaks
Dumpster Diving in Iowa

Dumpster Diving Laws in Iowa

Dumpster diving has become a popular pastime for many people. While there are no hard and fast rules for dumpster diving in Iowa, you must be aware of your surroundings, especially if you plan to do it in a public place. If you get caught dumpster diving, you may face trespassing charges or even bans from specific areas.

It’s also crucial to know what happens if someone sees you trespassing. They can call the police and report seeing someone breaking into their garbage. So, we suggest you always be double sure before you get into a dumpster and check that you are not breaking into a dumpster that you should stay away from.

Also, watch for the “No Trespassing” sign with each dumpster you intend to rummage through.

Dumpster Diving Laws in Iowa

Is Dumpster Diving Illegal in Iowa?

Dumpster diving in Iowa is NOT illegal if you pick any item that has been dumped in public pickups and curbs. But breaking into someone’s private property definitely is.

If you have been into dumpster diving for a while, you might have known about the landmark law of the Supreme Court. It states if a person has left any of their belongings at a public curb or trash can, they have legally lost the right of its ownership. Hence, anyone can take that “dumped stuff” and call it their own.

Also, they can’t take any legal action against it.

The law is applicable all over the United States. Iowa is no exception.

So, that gives the dumpster divers a sigh of relief that whatever they do, doesn’t make them a culprit in the eyes of the law. However, by no means this law gives you the freedom to trespass on someone’s or some business’s private property. You must follow the trespassing laws as per the rules of your state, no matter whether you live in Iowa or anywhere else.

If you are caught dumpster diving at any business or personal property without a permit, you will get into trouble—no second thoughts about that. And you are purely at the risk of being charged for trespassing.

So, you should always heed where you are headed in your dumpster diving adventure.

Is Dumpster Diving Illegal in Iowa

Is Dumpster Diving Illegal in Cedar Rapids, Iowa?

Dumpster diving in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is not illegal. The better news is that there are no hard and fast local rules for dumpster diving. That said, it’s always an excellent idea to be careful about trespassing signs and stay in the know about the local trespassing laws in your state.

Is Dumpster Diving Illegal in Des Moines?

No, dumpster diving is not forbidden by law in Des Moines. But, again, just be mindful about “which” dumpster you are diving in. It doesn’t have to be on anyone’s private property. That’s all.

What Happens If You Get Caught Dumpster Diving in Iowa?

Here’s what happens if you get caught dumpster diving in Iowa:

  1. You can’t be charged with trespassing if you have permission from the property owner to be on their property.
  •  If you are caught trespassing, and it is reported to the authorities, they might issue a trespass warning that bans you from the area.
  • If police find out that someone is trespassing and has been banned from an area because of that fact, they can charge them with criminal trespassing and make an arrest.

Best Places to Go Dumpster Diving in Iowa

There are several best places to go dumpster diving in Iowa.

Construction sites: Construction sites are a great place to go dumpster diving, as they often have tons of material that can be sold at a low cost. The dumpsters also tend to be relatively complete so that you can find all sorts of things in the trash—and it’s usually free!

Cosmetic stores: Your local cosmetic store is another good place to go dumpster diving. Most cosmetic stores use plastic bags to haul away their trash and throw it out on the curb for collection. You can usually find pretty inexpensive stuff at these locations, including makeup, shoes, and clothes.

Yard sales: Yard sales are another great place to go dumpster diving. If you see an odd item you want to sell or pawn off on someone else, check out the yard sale first! Yard sales are often cheaper than flea markets because they don’t have overhead costs like rent or electricity bills.

Apartment complexes: Don’t forget about apartment complexes! They often use large containers full of recyclable materials that could fetch some $$$.

Best Places to Go Dumpster Diving in Iowa

What Money Potential Does the State of Iowa Have for Dumpster Divers?

Dumpster diving is an incredible way to make money. You can make up to $3500 a month if you’re willing to invest 40+ hours a week.

Besides the money, it can help you enjoy other benefits as well. Such as, it’s environmentally friendly. It can help reduce waste by recycling materials instead of throwing them away. Second, you can get free food from restaurants and grocery stores that throw away food at the end of the day. Third, it’s legal. You’re not trespassing or doing anything wrong if you go into a dumpster behind a store or restaurant, and if you find something valuable while dumpster diving, you can sell it on Craigslist or eBay!

Finally, dumpster diving can be a lot of fun! You don’t have to spend all day in one place. You could go across town and check out several different spots in just a few hours.

All in all, it is a win-win from every direction you see this activity.

Best Time to Dumpster Dive in Iowa

If you want to know the best time to dumpster dive in Iowa, look for early morning or late at night. These times provide you with more privacy and less competition from other dumpsters. Also, remember that many more people are out at night than during the day. So if you go after dinner, ensure you have your helping gear, like appropriate lights, safety gloves, etc., ready.

If you’re new to dumpster diving, we recommend starting early in the morning, late at night, or both! The reason being is that it’s usually easier to find things at night because people typically have fewer things on their minds when they’re home and more space in their homes to store items.

So if you can find a spot that isn’t too far from your home and doesn’t have a ton of people around, you’ll be able to do some dumpster diving without too much interference.

Tips for Dumpster Diving in Iowa

Now that we have an idea of the money potential dumpster diving has in Iowa and have discussed the best timing that will work for most of the dumpster divers in Iowa, let’s look at some tips to do it right.

You should plan out your hunt ahead of time. You don’t want to spend all day digging through the trash just because it got too heavy for one person to handle. If you get stuck, try asking around for help—there may be a friend nearby who will lend a hand!

Also, keep augmenting your skills by training with other dumpster divers whenever possible. It’s easy enough to go out into nature or find someone nearby who wants some free food.

Tips for Dumpster Diving in Iowa

Final Words  

Dumpster diving in Iowa is a fun way to make extra money. Whether you’re looking for clothes, food, or other goods, there are great places near Iowa to pick up the trash.

Luckily, dumpster diving isn’t challenging—you just need to plan your hunt and keep an eye out for areas where people might throw away things they don’t want anymore. And, you’ll be good to go to get started with your own trash (read: treasure) hunt. Sounds great?

If yes, give it a try!