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Old 08-04-2004, 03:55 PM
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Hyattsville, MD
Posts: 941
What law am I breaking by using someone elses Dumpster?

A quick tour through the alleys of my neighborhood reveals a number of Dumpsters bearing a sticker warning "no dumping, $500 fine." I assume that dumping, in this context, refers to the placement of waste in these recepticles by anyone other than the person or entity renting the Dumpster. Now, much as I'm sure they would like to believe otherwise, the Waste Management Corporation is not empowered to fine people for these violations; we actually have to be found guilty in a court of law. So, is there actually a law against using someone else's Dumpster, and what are the actual penalties, or is this just bluster on the part of WM?
Old 08-04-2004, 03:59 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Richmond, VA
Posts: 22,536
I'm sure the law is similar in other places, too, but in Texas:
It is illegal to place trash, litter or solid waste into a private business dumpster with out the permission of the business owner. This carries the same punishment range as illegal dumping. Illegal use of a dumpster is also considered Theft of Service under the Texas Penal Code (31.04) which is a Class B Misdemeanor. Both charges can be filed at the same, constituting two separate offenses.
Old 08-04-2004, 03:59 PM
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: New York, New York!
Posts: 2,461
Well, technically you're stealing, in that the store that rents the dumpster is paying the Waste Management people to haul away their trash by volume, ie dumpster load. If you put your trash in Random Store's dumpster, you're getting the store to pay to have your trash hauled away. But I doubt that's what they're thinking of with the signs.
Old 08-04-2004, 04:25 PM
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Scranton PA
Posts: 6,428
Years ago, my brother hosted a party at the house while my parents were away. He carefully cleaned up afterwards and took the trash bags to a nearby grocery store to dispose of the "evidence". Somehow, the refuse company which owned the dumpster was able to get his name and about a month later, sent him a bill for $100 for "waste removal". He never paid it, and it was never pursued by the company or the store. Based on the contents of the trashbag, perhaps he made it through a "boys will be boys" loophole of an illegal dumping/ theft of services law.
Old 08-04-2004, 05:12 PM
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Madison WI
Posts: 22,505
In the absence of any criminal law, I believe you would be committing a civil tort, probably conversion if I had to guess (since your waste is interfering with the property rights of the person owning or renting the Dumpster).

IANAL, etc.
Old 08-04-2004, 07:08 PM
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Decatur, Illinois, USA
Posts: 14,041
It's "theft of services"...
...Use of dumpsters and recycling containers by persons not residing, or employed in College buildings to dispose of solid waste not generated on campus is prohibited. Such action is considered a theft of service and will result in judicial action (Refer to the Student Conduct Code Part III {H})...
...a.k.a. "stealing"...
Stopping Thieves from Stealing Trash Services

May 1, 1999 12:00 PM
Suzanne D. LaLonde

It's better to give than receive, especially if you're stuffing your trash in somebody else's can. And, when a "trash thief" dumps his trash in your bin, he gets you to pay for his disposal costs.

A trash thief can be anyone, including a company employee, a passerby or a nearby company that is relying on your company for trash disposal...
...which last time I looked was prosecutable under the criminal code.
...I need to make you aware of a problem concerning the dumpsters located on school property. These dumpsters are for PISD use only. The use by other persons is illegal. The school district has to pay a fee every time these dumpsters are emptied. They are not for community use. Unauthorized us is a Class A misdemeanor on the charge of Theft of Services and carries a penalty of a $500 fine per item in addition to possible probation ... I want to make you aware that the school district and the Allen Police Department are monitoring this activity and they know that individuals residing on Londonderry Dr., Wimbledon Dr., Cimarron Rd, Wrotham Ln, Castleford Dr., and Palace Way have used the dumpster...
Old 08-04-2004, 07:45 PM
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Join Date: May 1999
Location: Silicon Valley, Cal., USA
Posts: 15,785
DDG: What State are those laws in? Are they part of the Uniform Penal Code?
Old 08-04-2004, 07:52 PM
Join Date: May 1999
Location: Up there, waiting
Posts: 17,203
Possibly tresspassing, too?
Old 08-04-2004, 09:11 PM
KSO KSO is offline
Join Date: Oct 1999
Posts: 2,203
There might be contractual limits between the hauler and the business about the sorts of things that can be tossed. When the hauler brings the garbage into the transfer station or disposal facility, the hauler, and therefore the customer, are on the hook if there is "unacceptable" solid waste in the load; i.e., medical waste, air conditioners, paint, etc. They don't want to pay for disposal of your crap, so to speak.
Old 08-05-2004, 01:37 AM
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Voting anti-obamanation
Posts: 10,300
We've caught people dumping any and everthing imaginable into the dumpster at the fire station. The oddest part is that they become indignant, saying "I pay taxes to support this outfit" and in their minds that justifies dumping stuff in our can that they can't put out at the curb. Go figure.
Crows. Keeping our highways clear of roadkill for over 80 years
Old 08-05-2004, 11:02 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Apr 1999
Posts: 22,190
A police office actually caught my father putting stuff into a Dumpster and wrote him a ticket on the spot for illegal dumping. As the officer explained it (very nicely) there were several reasons for making it a municipal ordinance:

Theft of services -- the business has to pay for the removal of trash

The dump has restrictions about what can and can't be dumped. The dump tells the Dumpster companies, who tell their customers. For all the police officer knew, my father could have been dumping nuclear waste.

The businesses in town really didn't want people hanging around their back doors, whether or not they were carrying trash. Strictly speaking, the shopping mall was private property, although it was patrolled by the local police.

In the City of St. Louis, trash collection is a municipal activity and the waste receptacles are provided by the city. I'm guessing the city can impose just about any kind of restriction they want.

My father had to pay the fine, but no, they didn't make him pick up the garbage.
I'm not just a hack writer -- I'm a hack author

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