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Dumpster diving? Not in the city of Powell

Dumpster divers, beware: It is no longer legal to dig through city trash containers in Powell.

Last week, Powell city councilmen approved an ordinance that prohibits taking out contents of city trash containers. It also makes it illegal to climb on Dumpsters.



“We’ve had some problems with people climbing into the containers — looking, scavenging and damaging the containers in the process,” said Sandra Kitchen, city attorney, during a council meeting last month.

She added there also are privacy concerns when people scavenge through trash containing credit card statements or other personal documents.

“There’s also a public safety issue with someone climbing in there and having the lid come down and hit them on the head,” she added.

Dumpster diving has become a common practice throughout the United States, based on the belief that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

In recent years, larger Dumpsters in local alleys have been damaged, including lids being ripped off, said City Sanitation Superintendent Darrell Rood. Rood said he doesn’t know if all that damage is due to people going through the containers.

He said residents generally take care of the roll-off containers that they store in a garage or near their home. The problems came with the large containers in alleys.

For years, the City Code has prohibited defacing city trash containers. The new language prohibits anyone from interfering with containers or removing trash from them.

Those who violate the new ordinance can be issued a citation, Kitchen said. The maximum penalty for municipal court fines is $750, but she doesn’t know what fine the municipal court judge will set for the offense.

Mayor Scott Mangold asked about residents retrieving their own trash, in case they accidentally toss an important item.

“I don’t want to get busted for trying to dig out my own garbage,” he said.

“Once it’s in the city container, it belongs to the city,” Councilman Myron Heny responded.

Kitchen added, “We don’t want you climbing into the container, because we’re having breakage from that.”

She said if trash is in a city Dumpster, then residents need to call City Hall and ask for permission to go through it. The ordinance allows city employees to go through the trash or permit others to do so.


  • posted by ST

    December 11, 2012 8:35 am

    Why is it only once a week? I live in Powell, and garbage pick up comes to my house twice a week. One bin, twice a week. That could easily get rid of those huge dumpsters in the alleys. I've almost hit one driving through an alley because I have a friend whose house has an alley entrance, and alley parking. But, really, what is the point to having huge dumpsters? Do we really need them? Wouldn't it save money in repairing the damage if everyone just had the smaller, wheeled containers like everyone in my neighborhood? I would think so. It would also help, I'm sure, with the rancid, rotting garbage smell in most parts of town.

  • posted by lms

    December 04, 2012 7:41 am

    There is certainly no problem with taking the garbage/recyles out to the street. The containers are small and on wheels. If you do not have much in the recycle bin, don't take it out that week. As a matter of fact, our recycle truck comes every other week and even then I do not always have enough to take to the street for pick up. I think it is so simple that it is hard to see the advantages. It is certainly easier than lugging garbage to the alley, lifting it up in order to drop it in the huge container. Try it; you'll like it!

  • posted by SO

    December 03, 2012 12:45 pm

    What people do not realize is that dumpster diving is dangerous. If someone gets stuck in there, trucks do not look in to see they dump it in the truck. And who would want to put out two bins once a week, I feel that is more of a pain. If these bins are being damaged by individuals the city has to replace them, where do you think that money comes from? People do have to live but there are jobs everywhere and if people are willing to cut back there shouldn't be an issue...

  • posted by TN

    November 30, 2012 7:09 pm

    What next? More loony tunes from Dementedville?

  • posted by Al Young

    November 30, 2012 2:11 pm

    What a waste of City Councilman's time, and what a slap in the face of people's rights. Don't throw private information away if you fear someone looking at it. Is dumpster destruction really a concern? Next thing you know City Council will make it illegal to remove trash from irrigation canals, or maybe they already have since that never happens.

  • posted by clipstein

    November 29, 2012 5:55 pm

    When you keep raising taxes and city bills--what do you think is going to happen,,,,,,,,,,,, people have to live and those that have a fixed income you are killing with all the wasted taxpayers the people will do whatever it takes to live and that includes dumpster diving. Looks to me you are reaping what you have sown..... or is karma mixed in there?

  • posted by lms

    November 29, 2012 10:35 am

    Having visited family in Powell for many years, I have to say that the huge alley trash containers are ridiculous. If a person is older or handicapped in any way is is almost impossible to put any garbage in and I am positive that it would be a danger to anyone trying to retrieve an accidental discard. I can't imagine the advantage of such large containers. Why not two small wheeled containers, one for garbage and one for recycles that can be wheeled to the curb and retrieved after pickup. I would think that this would be a much safer answer to the dumpster diving problem. As a matter of fact, why not set reusable items on the curb itself which would be free to anyone needing the item. Sounds a lot simpler that climbing into one of the gigantic dumpsters that you have in your city.

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