Is it Legal to Throw Trash in Someone Else’s Dumpster in Massachusetts?
I have been working in radio in Western Massachusetts for almost 20 years. I have been with WSBS Radio in Great Barrington since late December 2005. In addition to on-air, programming, and digital duties one of my other tasks at the station is disposing of trash. Like many businesses we have a dumpster located in our parking lot which is where I dispose of all of the station's garbage.
We don't get a lot of trash built up at the radio station but one thing I do notice from time to time is that other people's refuse ends up in our dumpster. I have seen all sorts of things from electronics to food to bags of leaves. This doesn't really bother me as we have the space but I have always wondered if it's illegal to throw trash into someone else's dumpster without their permission.
Is it Illegal to Throw Trash into Someone Else's Dumpster in Massachusetts?
It is definitely illegal and the fines are quite hefty. Here's Section 16 of the law as stated by the Massachusetts Legislature:
Whoever places, throws, deposits or discharges or whoever causes to be placed, thrown, deposited or discharged, trash, bottles or cans, refuse, rubbish, garbage, debris, scrap, waste or other material of any kind on a public highway or within 20 yards of a public highway, or on any other public land, or in or upon coastal or inland waters, as defined in section 1 of chapter 131, or within 20 yards of such waters, or on property of another, or on lands dedicated for open space purposes, including lands subject to conservation restrictions and agricultural preservation restrictions as defined in chapter 184, shall be punished by a fine of not more than $5,500 for the first offense and a fine not to exceed $15,000 for each subsequent offense; provided, however, that 50 per cent of the fine imposed shall be deposited in the conservation trust established in section 1 of chapter 132A and the court may also require that the violator remove, at his own expense, the trash, refuse, rubbish, debris or materials.
You can read more about this law by going here. In addition, Next Day Dumpsters explains that it is indeed illegal to dump trash in someone else's dumpster unless you have explicit permission from the dumpster owner. So, unless you want to run the risk of paying a big fine, think twice before you throw your trash into a dumpster that isn't your own.