I wouldn’t cite anything that happens in Blacksburg, Virginia (population 39,000) as a trend, but their City Council is considering slapping fines on dumpster divers, if a complaint is lodged. This reminds those of us who are fond of other people’s trash to check local ordinances before engaging in this practice. It’s no surprise that the weak document destruction policies of financial institutions is fueling the current concern.
Blacksburg Town Council is considering an ordinance that would make scavenging in trash cans or Dumpsters a class 3 misdemeanor after WSLS Channel 10 reporter Denise Eck aired two stories in May about banks that threw out customers’ financial information without shredding it.
The article ends with the responsible conclusion that criminalizing curbside trash pickups probably wouldn’t stand up to a legal challenge, considering that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled long ago that garbage in a public space is not private. I previously did a long posting on this topic, Why Your Neighbor’s Garbage Is Yours, Or Not.