Here’s the printed dumpster diving laws that I bring when I go foraging:
Dumpster Diving Laws: The 1988 Case of California vs. Greenwood held that there is no common law expectation of privacy for discarded materials. Specifically, this case involved a Laguna Beach Police investigation in which evidence of drug use was obtained from curbside refuse bins. In that decision, the Supreme Court reached the decision that “It is common knowledge that plastic garbage bags left on or at the side of a public street are readily accessible to animals, children, scavengers, snoops, and other members of the public” (California v. Greenwood, 486 U.S. 35, 39 (1988))
Currently, five States have upheld this Supreme Court decision:
California. People v. Krivda, 486 P.2d 1262 (Calif. 1971), vacated and remanded, 409 U.S. 33 (1972),
reaff’d, 504 P.2d 457 (1973), cert. denied, 412 U.S. 919 (1973).
Hawaii. State v. Tanaka, 701 P.2d 1274 (Haw. 1985).
New Jersey. State v. Hempele, 576 A.2d 793 (N.J. 1990).
Washington. State v. Boland, 800 P.2d 1112 (Wash. 1990).
Vermont. State v. Morris, 680 A.2d 90 (Vt. 1996).