Not really, is the short answer.
Denton police will categorize reports of people rummaging through dumpsters as trespassing issues most of the time before it’s a “dumpster diving” call, spokeswoman Allison Vetere said on Friday.
Public dumpsters are fair game. Dumpsters on private property could get you criminally trespassed or worse. One Dentonite’s trash is another Dentonite’s treasure, so long as the dumpster is on public property.
Dumpster diving can still earn you a visit from police. Once officers are interacting with you, any number of charges could come your way, depending on what they say they find.
Take the Aug. 7 police blotter as one example. Someone called 911 to report “dumpster diving” at an apartment complex in the 400 block of Audra Lane. A man was arrested, but not for “dumpster diving” nor given a criminal trespass warning. In their interactions with him, police said they found methamphetamine and learned he had a warrant. He was taken to jail for those two issues, police said.
But there is no city ordinance that prohibits you from scouring the dumpsters, Vetere said.
“The only time we would really take a proactive approach is if they are on private property or specifically enclosed inside a fence that says no trespassing,” Vetere wrote in a text message. “With dumpsters in public areas or on public streets, there is no expectation of privacy for the trash people place inside those.”
So dive in. Just know that you might easily attract police attention.