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Simple Things You Can Do To Prevent Dumpster Diving

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Dumpsters are not the most appealing places to visit, but that doesn't stop people from sifting through them to capture what they perceive as valuable items. Not only does this present a potential security breach for your company—thieves often dumpster dive for sensitive information like social security numbers—the practice can open your business up to a lawsuit if someone gets hurt while rummaging around in the trash bin. Here are two simple things you can do to keep people from diving in your dumpsters.

Make Your Trash as Unappealing as Possible

The primary reason people go foraging in dumpsters is because they think they can find something usable in them. Many times they're right. As mentioned previously, thieves hit dumpsters looking for sensitive info they can use to commit crimes such as identity theft. Other people comb through dumpsters looking for edible food or items to sell such as clothing and fixable appliances.

You can reduce your risk of being targeted by making your dumpster as unappealing as possible. Instead of throwing food away, consider donating it if it's still usable. Many foods have "sell by" or "use by" dates but are still edible for a period of time after that date has passed (e.g. milk), for instance. While your business may not legally be able to sell it to customers, a soup kitchen may be able to use to make meals for the homeless.

Shredding all paperwork and computer disks before trashing them can make your dumpsters unappealing to thieves. Instead of throwing away items like small appliances (e.g. coffeemakers), printers, or computers, sell or donate them. Unwanted but still usable items can be given to charities or sold online for cash. If the item is broken, look for individuals or companies who are willing to fix and resell them.

Do what you can to minimize the appeal of your dumpster, and divers will likely bypass them for more fertile fare.

Place in Secure Location

Another thing you can do is place the dumpsters in a secure location. This option can be a little challenging, because you still want the dumpster to be accessible to the waste management company that picks up the trash. One option is to put the dumpsters in an area with a lockable gate. This way, you can unlock the gate the morning of trash day and secure the gate again once the dumpsters have been emptied. Be sure to use cut-proof locks; otherwise, trespassers can simply use bolt cutters to access the area.

Alternatively, you can upgrade your dumpsters to ones that have built-in locking mechanisms. Typically, you'll need a key to open the dumpster each time you use it, but this can keep others from getting inside the container. It's best to use locking dumpsters available from the waste management company if you rent your trash bins because the employees will usually have a master key to unlock the bin so they can dump it, thus you won't have to worry about unlocking the dumpster on trash day.

For more tips on preventing dumpster diving, contact your local dumpster rental company.