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Have you ever had a lot of trash or something that you needed to dispose of but didn't want to take the time to go to the landfill or city dump? Have you ever eyed someone else's dumpster and thought, 'Why not?' before thinking better of throwing your stuff away? There's a reason for that!

I won't lie. I'm a lawbreaker. I regularly bring trash from home to throw away at the dumpster here at work and I was today years old when I found out that was illegal in Louisiana. Yes, it is illegal to throw your trash into someone else's dumpster in Louisiana. It's considered 'littering.' Never mind the issues with privacy, trespassing, and theft of service involved. Here's how the Louisiana statute regarding litter reads:

§2531. Intentional littering prohibited; criminal penalties; simple littering prohibited; civil penalties; special court costs

A. Intentional littering. (1) No person shall intentionally dispose or permit the disposal of litter upon any public place in the state, upon private property in this state not owned by him, upon property located in rural areas in this state not owned by him, or in or on the waters of this state, whether from a vehicle or otherwise, including but not limited to any public highway, public right-of-way, public park, beach, campground, forest land, recreational area, trailer park, highway, road, street, or alley, except when such property is designated by the state or by any of its agencies or political subdivisions for the disposal of such litter and such person is authorized to use such property for such purpose.

(2) Whoever violates the provisions of this Subsection shall:

(a) Upon first conviction, be fined five hundred dollars and sentenced to serve eight hours of community service in a litter abatement work program as approved by the court.

(b) Upon second conviction, be fined nine hundred dollars and sentenced to serve twenty hours of community service in a litter abatement work program as approved by the court.

(c) Upon third or subsequent conviction, be fined two thousand five hundred dollars, have his motor vehicle driver's license suspended for one year, and be sentenced to serve eighty hours of community service in a litter abatement work program as approved by the court, or all or any combination of the penalties provided by this Subparagraph.

Those are some pretty hefty fines, so if you don't have express permission from the owner or lessee of the dumpster, I'd find somewhere else to throw your trash away.

"He Won't Get Far On Foot" Closing Night Film - Seattle International Film Festival
Mat Hayward/Getty Images for Seattle International Film Festival

What about dumpster diving? Is it legal to dumpster dive for another person's treasures in Louisiana? Technically, the answer is yes, it is legal, even though privacy and trespassing laws still apply. With that being said, there is no law in Louisiana that prohibits dumpster diving in public places unless it's restricted by a specific municipality. For the folks who regularly dumpster dive here at the radio station, just know, we're not on public property.

However, I did find it interesting that any trash bag placed on a curb is considered public domain before being picked up by trash collectors. That explains the folks who are constantly driving around the Broadmoor and Highland neighborhoods to score a find!

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