It’s beyond frustrating to spend several hundred dollars on renting a dumpster only to find that trespassers have unlawfully thrown their own waste, junk, and debris into your container. If this has happened to you, you’re not alone; it’s a common issue. We’ll discuss some effective solutions to the problem.
What’s the legality of the issue?
It is illegal to dump trash in dumpsters placed on private property unless given explicit permission by the owner of the dumpster to do so. This includes dumpsters that are placed on construction sites, commercial dumpsters at businesses, roll-offs and roll carts at homes, and other trash receptacles placed on private property.
It’s illegal to dump trash in someone else’s dumpster without permission. Getting caught doing so is punishable by $500+ fines and possible jail time.
The exact laws vary by municipality, but most cities consider this type of illegal dumping a misdemeanor punishable by fines and possible jail time. Learn more about your local laws pertaining to the issue by doing an online search for “litter statute in [your city].”
Quit trashing my dumpster!
When people add trash to your rented roll-off dumpster without permission, it’s not only illegal, it’s also a headache for you. Here’s why:
- It leaves less space for you to fill it up with your junk, waste, or debris. Learn about dumpster sizes and how much they hold.
- In some cases, a second dumpster may be necessary to complete the job.
- The extra weight could push the load past the weight allowance—that’s extra fees for you!
- The offender(s) may have loaded hazardous materials (e.g., paint) and you could be responsible for the extra fees associated with disposal of such wastes.
Infuriating to say the least!
Below, you’ll find some useful tips that will reduce the odds of your rented dumpster becoming a community trash bin.
Illegal dumping prevention tips
- If possible, place the dumpster inside a fenced area or inside of a garage, barn, or outbuilding.
- Tarp the dumpster when not in use. All you need is an inexpensive tarp and some bungee cords. This is also useful for keeping the load dry during rain or snowstorms. A wet dumpster load is much heavier than a dry one.
- Place the dumpster in a well-lit area.
- Load the dumpster quickly. If at all possible, finish loading the dumpster in a day and have it picked up soon after. The longer the dumpster sits on your property, the higher the risk of an illegal dumping situation.
- Place the dumpster near your home or building rather than on or near the street, especially if it’s a highly trafficked street.
- A simple plywood or cardboard sign may be enough to keep people from tossing trash in your roll-off.
What if preventative measures didn't solve the problem?
If you’ve noticed trash and junk in the dumpster that’s not yours, look for any identifying labels or markings. If you are able to get a name, you can contact local authorities and pursue that route.
Even if you don’t find any identifying markings, it’s not a bad idea to contact authorities to inform them of the issue, especially if you have the dumpster on-site for several more days. Police would likely increase patrols in the neighborhood, which could be enough to give would-be “trash tossers” a reason to think twice about it.
Will the dumpster rental provider help out with this situation?
It depends on the company and extent of the situation. Dumpster companies are generally not liable for other people dumping trash in your rented dumpster. That’s your responsibility as the renter.
Even so, it’s worth discussing the issue with your chosen dumpster rental company to see if they have any solutions that could work in your situation. In extreme cases, the rental company may be willing to work out a deal to provide a second dumpster or offer a discount to rent another dumpster if it is necessary to complete the cleanup.