dumpster diver ticketed in pennsylvania

Well, well, well. Another dumpster diver ticketed by the police. The charge? Scavenging. According to the police officer: “Def was observed scavenging in the dumpster to the rear of Weiss Markets. Def. was removing expired food from the dumpster and attempting to steal it.” I guess those expired food items will finally get the chance to rot in the landfill with their brethren that they deserve, thanks to another diligent officer. God bless America. Cough.

For all potential Lancaster dumpster divers out there, the song of your demise goes something like this: “ยง 258-31.1 Scavenging prohibited. It shall be unlawful for any person, except the owner or tenant of a property or the employee of a licensed hauler (as defined in Article IV of this chapter), to remove any garbage, refuse, rubbish or any other solid waste or recyclable materials placed for curbside collection.” (As reported on the Dive! spacebook page.)

But! The story has a happy ending after all. According to the person who notified freegan.info (on whose e-mail list I read about it this morning) in court the charge was dismissed for the lunacy it was: “When the police officer began to speak, the judge interrupted him and said that the charge didn’t apply. The ‘scavenging’ law is for those who make money on others’ recyclables. And just like that, the Judge declared him innocent. So it worked out really well.”

I wouldn’t make a habit of depending on the law, but at least in one case it was on our side.

Other stories of dumpster (out)laws:

Legality in a Dumpster

Dumpster Diver Arrested in Belgium

Dumpster Diver Arrested in England

0 Comments on “dumpster diver ticketed in pennsylvania

  1. That’s absolutely ridiculous that you need a “hauler’s license”! LOL If this was to be seriously enforced in Connecticut, I would have about a million fines. The rich people around here just dump perfectly good (sometimes brand new) toys and stuff next to those clothing donation bins. They know perfectly well that the charity trucks are only going to take clothes, so I figure I’m doing the trash company a service! And they also love to put things next to the road that have nothing wrong with it! I can’t stand the rich, snobby people around here, but they can be useful! LOL

  2. Thank goodness the judge had common sense.

    But also, I understand the other side of the issue. I think that part of the reason these laws are in place are for liability -I know there were safety / liability concerns at a grocery in my old town where college kids would try and dumpster dive.
    However, wouldn’t it be great if food stores would take all the expired-but-safe food and leave it out for scavengers or donate it?

  3. I don’t know what to say, because I can see both sides of the issue, but I’m glad the judge had the sense to make the legal distinction.

  4. That’s funny. I live there! I shop at that Weis! I’m glad there’s a judge around here who has a brain. I wonder sometimes.


  5. I and friends who lived in the same city used to get all of our fresh produce from the bins behind a supermarket chain. This supermarket was high end and didn’t want to display any fruit or veggies with even a spot, smudge or bump. We got chased away so many times with the threat of getting a ticket for “breaking the law” that we ended up sneaking back there in teams, with one person on the lookout.
    Eventually our abundant eating came to an end, when the supermarket installed a high fence around the back part of its property. Oh, America.

  6. I’m rather local to this area and I will tell you this. It was in Mannheim aka the rich area of Lancaster. The police there are the worst to have to deal with. After them is the Upper Leacock township police. And 3rd place goes to the State Troopers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.