Ever toss the trash in other people’s dumpsters? Here’s what happens if you get caught. Illegal dumping comes with fees and the fines just went up.
Know the laws about trash receptacles, recycling bins and roll out tubs.
If you toss trash or are caught illegal dumping in a dumpster, they can write you a ticket. They can charge you for community service, impound your car and even demand imprisonment.
State rules have a trash and litter policy. And landfills have extra fines for hazardous materials.
Listen: Trash in Other People’s Dumpsters
Watch: Trash in Other People’s Dumpsters
Hey there, I’m Angela Brown, and this is Ask a House Cleaner. This is a show where you get to ask a house cleaning question, and I get to help you find an answer. You can find this and 400 other answered questions in this series on our YouTube channel.
Is it Illegal to Dump Trash in Other People’s Dumpsters?
Trash, dumpsters, and waste management, that’s what we’re going to talk about today. Many homeowners want to know, “is it illegal if I dump my garbage or my trash in someone else’s dumpster?”
The answer is yes it is.
In the United States, every state has different rules and regulations for illegal dumping. And that includes you throwing something in a dumpster that’s on a business property.
If you dump your trash in any of those receptacles and you are not paying the bill for those receptacles, it is illegal.
Rules and Regulations for Illegal Dumping
Okay, so here’s how that works. There are initiatives now in all the different states that prevent illegal dumping. Right now in the world, there’s over 100 million tons of illegal garbage that people have dumped.
There are apps now like TrashOut where people can report illegal dumping, and they’re starting to crackdown. There are a lot of surveillance cameras now. Even homes have outdoor surveillance cameras.
Citizens are working with the Department of Transportation where they will pull the DMV record of the car and give them a ticket. There are different fines for illegal dumping in each state, sometimes it is $50 to $500 in fines. And then they will also hit you with some community service if it’s your first offense. The second offense in some states is jail time.
Some States Have a Harsher Fine for Illegal Dumping
Another thing that you have to think of is in the State of New Jersey there is a $50,000 fine for littering. This started back in 2014, when they track your car down, they will impound that car and you do not get your car back.
You don’t just pay the fee and get your car back. They confiscate your car. So you lose your car, $50,000, and you might go to jail.
Now I know in a lot of states they give you two offenses. The first time there’s a fine of like $500, and then there’s some kind of community service or a punishment. Then the second time you go to jail for a couple of years. Do not, do not, please, illegally dump. It’s not cool at all. It never was, but it is not cool now.
North Carolina Rules and Regulations
Now I live in Charlotte, North Carolina. So I did a search for the North Carolina litter laws. What happens in North Carolina, let’s say something falls off the back of your car or it blows out your window. If it’s less than 15 pounds, there’s a $100 fine and 12 hours of community service.
You can save yourself 12 hours of community service and $100 by keeping your windows rolled up so your McDonald’s bag doesn’t blow out your window. You got to be super careful even about the accidental litter that might have fallen or blown out of your car.
Use Landfills Instead of Illegal Dumping
Another thing that we have to think about is landfills as an alternative to illegal dumping. Now the landfills, there are certain landfills that we use as waste management plants.
There’s one near where I live called The Fox Hole. Now if you’ve never been to a landfill, it’s pretty impressive. So when you drive in there, there’s a great big scale that your truck drives over. We didn’t have a truck. We had to rent a truck. You drive over it and as you drive over it, it weighs how much weight you’re bringing in.
So as you drive over, then they add all the extra weight and you have to pay for that. So it’s not free. This is one of the reasons why people are cracking down on illegal dumping. You have to pay for that, which is not fair when people dump illegally.
How to Use a Landfill Near You
When you bring your junk in, they have different little sections. They have one for refrigerators and appliances and broken toilets and things like that where they will store all that stuff. There’s another one for steel and metal.
Then they have one for consumables that are toxic, hazardous materials. So they will deal with, manage properly, dispose of, things like old tires for example.
Or if you have old, broken down swimming pools that your kids used when they were young, they will take all this stuff, but you have to pay.
When somebody dumps their stuff in your dumpster, you have to pay the extra fines. Now the problem is this. If someone illegally dumps in your dumpster that you’ve rented and there are hazardous materials in there. When it gets to the landfill, they charge you extra because that wasn’t part of the agreement.
Illegal Dumping Isn’t Cool
There are a lot of reasons why illegal dumping is not cool at all. If you live in an apartment complex, for example, one of the questions you want to ask is, where do we dump our stuff? Where are you allowed to take your trash out?
They will probably say these two trash receptacles. And then only dump your stuff in those two trash receptacles. Don’t be going to one over here because it’s less empty.
You are not authorized in the dumpster they did not assign you.
Be Clear About Where You’re Supposed to Dump
You need to be very clear about where you’re supposed to dump. If you’re doing commercial cleaning, it’s important that you understand where the dumpsters are.
Because if you have to carry trash off-site, you’re responsible for that trash. Meaning you have to take it to a landfill and you have to pay.
You want to dump it on-site whenever possible. Find out, make sure that you understand and there’s no misunderstanding about where you’re supposed to dump the trash.
Do Not Dump House Cleaning Trash in Anyone Else’s Trash
Is it legal? It is not legal at all. Do not dump your trash in anyone else’s trash, not even a neighbor’s trash can. If you have, let’s say that you have a broken toilet and you have to haul it out and bring a new one in from Home Depot.
While you’re at Home Depot, you might want to rent a truck. I think that in some areas they still rent trucks. And if not, I know that Lowe’s rents trucks.
Then what you do is you rent a truck and find out where the nearest landfill is. Then you’re going to want to haul that stuff out yourself. Dispose of it properly because it’s a lot less money than the $100 for the fine and community service.
If You Rent a Dumpster
Let’s say that you rent a dumpster that you’re going to use. You want to pull it as close to your house as possible. Because if you put it out and near the road, you encourage people to drop stuff off in it.
You also want to close it over with a tarp so that when you’re not using it, it’s less likely that people are going to uncover it so they can throw their stuff in.
Surveillance cameras are also good because that way you have a way of tracking down the people that abused your dumpster. If you are a business site and you have a dumpster, keep it behind a fence, and put a camera on it so that it’s less likely for people to dump in it.
*** RESOURCES FROM THIS EPISODE ***
Penalties for Litter in Each State – http://www.ncsl.org/research/environment-and-natural-resources/states-with-littering-penalties.aspx
Consequences of Illegal Dumping – https://www.hometowndumpsterrental.com/blog/consequences-of-illegal-dumping-in-america
Dumpster rental Discounts with https://savvyperks.com membership
Comparing Dumpster Services – https://www.hometowndumpsterrental.com/hiring-the-right-dumpster-service-everything-you-need-to-know
Dumpster Renting 101 – https://www.hometowndumpsterrental.com/dumpsters.html
Permissions To Share
Savvy Cleaner Training – House Cleaner Training and Certification
My Cleaning Connection – Your hub for all things cleaning.
HouseCleaning360 – A hub connecting homeowners with house cleaners
Savvy Perks – Employee benefits for your employees.
Turnover Cleaning Tips – for Vacation Rental and Airbnb Hosts