It May Be Illegal to Put Trash in Someone’s Dumpster in Arizona
Attack That Spring Cleaning!
You're working hard on your Spring cleaning. You've got your keep piles, your donate piles, and your trash piles. You've been tossing bags into your personal trash receptacles, but the waste disposal guys don't swing by to collect your trash until Thursday. It's only Saturday. What do you do?
Whatever you do, don't donate your ratty junk to your local thrift store. Yes, they're going to dump it in the trash anyway, but they're also going to think you're the world's biggest jerk. Do you really need that negative karma? Trust me, just get rid of it.
Too Much Trash
There's a lot of trash, though. Maybe more than you imagined, and it's time to look for another solution. If you've considered loading the trash into the back of your truck to dump in the first available dumpster, pump the brakes.
Not only is it extremely inconsiderate, foisting your trash into a dumpster on private property is also illegal in Arizona. That is, unless you have the explicit permission of the dumpster's owner, and I'm pretty sure the owner of our local Safeway did not grant you permission.
Can You Legally Dump Trash into Someone's Dumpster?
First, a dumpster on private property is being rented by someone and they're paying a fee for the use and collection of the trash. When you fill up their dumpster, they have less room to throw away their own trash. Even if the dumpster seems to stand empty, that's not your decision to make and you never know if the renter is doing their own turning out. Plus, adding weight with your junk could cost them more money.
Second, it's against the law. ARS-13-1603 states:
A. A person commits criminal littering or polluting if the person without lawful authority does any of the following:
1. Throws, places, drops or permits to be dropped on public property or property of another that is not a lawful dump any litter, destructive or injurious material that the person does not immediately remove.
Illegal Dumping & Special Pick Up
Don't even think about dumping your used junk somewhere else, like an empty lot out in the desert. If you're loading your old, broken couch into the back of your truck anyway, just take it to the dump. Will you have to pay a fee at the landfill? Yes, but the fee is much less than the illegal dumping fine. Illegal dumping is a class two misdemeanor. You can be fined up to $15,000 for each violation (A.R.S. § 49-783).
You might not even need to borrow your brother-in-law's truck when you clear out that old box spring and mattress. The City of Sierra Vista has a system for Special Pick Ups for bulky items. You can call (520) 458-5775 and purchase a Special Pickup label for only $50.00, which is good for one pickup. Each item will need a separate label.
That's a real bargain compared to a $15,000 fine!