Open for Business? We’re delivering security solutions and peace-of-mind for essential staff. Learn More

Dumpster Divers

Preventing Dumpster Divers from Targeting Your Business

By Carlos Hazbun | Commercial Security | No Comments

Preventing Dumpster Divers from Targeting Your Business

If you run a business, small or large, the last place you might think about securing is the location where you dispose of your business waste. Dumpsters and other waste collection containers probably sit on your property, unnoticed and unbothered most of the time. Smart thieves and criminals, however, know better. If you have concerns that your dumpster may be a target, here are some important points for you to consider.

Who Targets Your Waste?

Dumpster Diving Identity Theft

Information Thieves

Depending on your type of business, you may find yourself targeted by a range of criminals and thieves. A modern incarnation of dumpster theft involves the theft of information. The Insurance Information Institute points out that 15.4 million American consumers were the target of identity theft in 2016, so it is clear that the crime of information theft is an ever-increasing concern.

Whether you run a small office or a big office complex, the odds are high that you need to dispose of sensitive documents and information from time to time. If these documents contain any customer or employee information (personal or professional), then you are exposing all of that information to the outside world by throwing it into the dumpster. Financial documents are particularly at risk in these situations. Even if you don’t have sensitive documents such as those being thrown away, you need to know that any paper documentation can put your company at risk. Elements as simple as phone numbers, names, and even letterhead can be stolen and put to nefarious use through “social engineering” attempts to breach the security of your business.


Dumpster Scavengers

We must also consider material waste other than documents containing information. More than ever, we are seeing vagrants (and even everyday average folks, known as “freegans”) seek to find valuable or “useful” materials thrown out in dumpsters. Some trespassers may just be looking for waste food from your restaurant, while others may be seeking electronics to resell or put up for recycling fees. No matter what you’re throwing out, there’s a chance that someone may be interested in accessing your dumpster to steal it.

Remember: local laws and ordinances vary on how protected your dumpster is from theft. Once you throw it away, there may even be a chance that you can no longer claim “possession” over waste materials! That’s why it’s important to secure them from the start.

Security Measures

There are a variety of security measures that business owners can take to secure their dumpsters and their waste. They range from the common-sense basics to the high-tech and unexpected.

Appropriate Lighting

Lighting on a dumpster for security

You may not have much control over where your dumpsters or waste collection areas are located. Quite often they are “built in” to a facility and can’t be easily relocated. You can, however, control the appearance and lighting of the area. Make sure that your dumpsters are in a well-lit area, with both ambient and spotlighting if necessary. Make sure that the area where your dumpsters are kept are clean of debris and clutter so that they are easy to observe and difficult to hide around. Information and waste thieves often seek out dumpsters that are visually blocked. They can also be enticed by messy or open dumpsters that give a “sneak peek” at what’s inside.

Locking Down Dumpsters


Dumpster Locks
Though it may not be the most convenient solution, business owners may need to take the step of physically locking dumpsters. This can be done with a padlock, combination lock, special cabling, or a combination of locking solutions. This may be the first, easiest, and most effective step to securing your waste. Most thieves will see a locked dumpster and head the other direction, looking for easier spoils.

Motion-Sensitive Cameras



Outdoor Motion Sensitive Camera

If you want to step up your dumpster security, you may consider electronic detection devices, including motion sensitive cameras. Motion sensitive cameras carry the benefit of only recording when their action at your dumpster site, so you can be sure that you catch only the most important moments on digital recording. Even better, just the presence of motion sensitive cameras can be enough to send most thieves packing.

Virtual Security Guards and Remote Video Monitoring



Virtual Security Guards

If you’re still concerned that critically sensitive information may be accessed via your dumpsters, you might want to consider combining electronic detection (like cameras) with virtual security guards or remote video monitoring. Both options allow your dumpsters to be monitored by a human presence remotely. If there’s a problem on site, they can respond appropriately.

Download our eBook

Download our eBook

The Complete Guide to Commercial Property Security