Many say a man’s trash is another man’s treasure; how legal is this adage regarding removing items from skips
or bins? There is no doubt, the majority of individuals engage in skip diving for their household needs
like clothes, home appliances, and more. Some “Freegans” eat from the leftover foods in the skip. In recent times, there has been a misconception relating to the legality of skip diving in the UK. Many people who indulge in this act are sceptical to know if they are breaking the law by picking things from the skips or bins. Although, the legal implication of this act is subject to two views that would be
Skip Diving and The Law
For those who are not very clear about the legal implication or the legality of skip diving in the UK. We
have tried to simplify this topic in two forms- That is, skip diving can be legal and also illegal;
When Skip Diving is Legal in The UK
Picking household items from the skip may be legal. According to a senior Law Lecturer at Anglia Ruskin
University, Doctor Thomas Sean, that; a freegan cannot be prosecuted for picking abandoned items
from the skip. It is believed that when items are kept in the bin or skip, it is no longer useful to the owner. In other words, skip diving is legal and not termed trespassing if a person abandoned their items
in a public open skip.
When Skip Diving Is Illegal
Taking items from a private skip may be illegal or theft based on the England and Wales Theft Act of
1968. You may be trespassing if the skip is on private land. The owner of the items may press charges if
the content on the skip is on private land and not intended to be discarded. Although, there is less
enforcement in practice, except skip owners press charges.
The most important thing about skip diving is how you obtain the item. It is imperative to seek
permission from the skip or bin owner before you take any item from the bin. Go ahead and ask the
owner if you can take some items from the skip, so you don't break the law.