How to deter dumpster diving

Dumpster diving or skip hunting can appear to be an innocent situation. After all, only what you are throwing away is taken.

If you haven’t heard of this before, you may wonder, what is dumpster diving?

This is when other people claim things you’ve thrown out, which sounds great if you advocate for recycling. However, this can carry many liability concerns, and you should be aware of how to deter people from illegally diving into your skip and taking things from you.

The first step to preventing dumpster diving is understanding why people do it and knowing what they may be looking for.

Despite the stigma attached to this practice, some people still see searching through skips as a way to save money and be environmentally friendly, as they reuse found fixtures and prevent them from going to landfills. Around the country, thousands of DIY-ers complete projects using materials they have taken from skips.

With the increased dedication to reusing and recycling materials, it’s no surprise that many are skip hunting for materials before they are recycled.


Preventing skip hunting usually starts with being alert and understanding the motivation behind it. Being aware of why someone may do this can help you understand what steps you can take to prevent it from happening and protect your skip.


When filling up your skip, remember to keep the area around the skip or dumpster clean. If your skip has debris sticking out or placed around the outside, this can suggest to dumpster divers what’s in them, and they may be more likely to target your skip.

Another reason to keep it clean is that debris sticking out of the skip can also serve as a cover for people to go diving without being seen. Eliminate this possibility by keeping your skip area clean.


Wherever your skip is placed, ensure it is located within a well-lit area, such as near a streetlamp or a security light on your property. Lighting can deter night thieves, as some do not want to be seen illegally taking things from their skip and will want to avoid any run-ins with the law.

Cameras and CCTV

When it comes to deterring skip hunting, one of the best ways is to consider placing your dumpster or skip in an area with cameras and CCTV. Including a sign that states cameras and CCTV are in operation will be a significant deterrent if someone is considering stealing from your skip. Even if these features do not deter completely, they make it difficult for someone to access your waste collection area without being seen.

Check the items you dispose of

If you dispose of anything carrying personal data, you must ensure this is crossed out or removed, as personal data can be used as leverage or sold. When disposing of this kind of document, ensure you shred any sensitive information and avoid throwing anything out if it contains personal data you cannot remove.

Make the most of what you are throwing out

When it comes to disposing of waste, some don’t always have to be thrown into the skip. If you’re throwing away old furniture or things that can be upcycled by painting, resurfacing, or adding more to it, it might never need to go to landfill.

Upcycling is better for the planet, and you can even use the opportunity wisely to make some extra cash and avoid having skip hunters take your waste.

These options are just some things you should consider when hiring a skip to help prevent skip hunters and ensure your skip remains unscathed from skip hunters.