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What is Skip Diving?

Skip diving, also known as: dumpster diving, totting, skipping and skip salvage, is when a person retrieves items from a skip that have been discarded by former owners. Skip divers believe that those items can be reused or repurposed. Skip divers will target domestic, industrial, construction or commercial skips in a bid to salvage what they can.

Despite the name, skip divers don’t just target skips. They can also target:

  • Dumpsters
  • Waste containers
  • Curb sides
  • Landfills
  • Small dumps
  • Commercial waste bins 

The items they retrieve will differ depending on the target, but skip divers will often look for clothes, furniture, salvageable food and other products that are deemed to be in good or working order. Where some people do this out of necessity due to personal circumstances, others will do it for professional or systematic profit. So who exactly is doing the skip diving, is it legal and how can you protect your skip from skip divers?


Who participates in skip diving?

‘Binner’ is the term used to describe those who collect items from skips and other receptacles in a bid to make profit on them. They’ll retrieve items for free, upcycle them and then sell them on in order to make some money. However, ‘binners’, on average, will earn around £40 a day just for several bin bags full of discarded items. Criminals will also be scouring waste bins looking for receipts in order to commit fraud, although they make up a very small number of skip divers.

Some skip divers would rather be known as ‘Freegans’ as their sole aim is to reduce the environmental impact that waste has on the planet. However, many waste management companies, such as us here at Willshee’s, will recycle 100% of the waste we collect, so you don’t have to worry about your unwanted items going to landfill. We’re proud to offer recycling services that are carried out at our dedicated onsite facility. From wood and glass to paper and food, we’ll be able to recycle it for you.


Skip diving can help people to restore items back to their former glory.

Technically, it is legal for a person to take items out of a skip that you have paid for, provided that skip is situated in a public place. If the skip has been placed on your drive, then it is against the law for anyone to come along and salvage items from it. 

Someone caught doing it could be arrested for trespassing. Although the government doesn’t prohibit someone from skip diving, it’s discouraged in order to avoid the skip diver catching diseases or becoming injured as a result. 


How to protect your skip from ‘skip divers’

Hiring a skip is an excellent way of getting rid of materials that you no longer want or need. Regardless of the type of waste you have, Willshee’s will be able to provide you with a skip that’ll best suit your individual requirements. It’s a stress-free, cost-effective option as it mitigates having to take several trips to the tip, which could be quite a journey for you to get to in the first place. But what can you do if you want to deter people from skip diving?

Put the skip on your own property if possible

It’s against the law for a skip diver to retrieve items for your skip if it’s placed on your property. If they’re caught, it could lead to them being arrested and having to face prosecution for the offence. Usually, this is all the deterrent a seasoned skip diver will need to pass on your skip and look for another that’s located on public land. 

Put a cover over the top of it

Although putting tarpaulin, for example, over the top of your skip won’t stop people from getting items out of your skip, it will prevent people from seeing what you’ve put it in. They might not have the time to uncover the skip and take a look inside and, also, they might not want to waste the energy doing that either. This will make your skip less of a target in comparison to ones that are left uncovered.

Use lighting to your advantage

You can use your own outdoor lighting to your advantage, particularly if the skip is placed on your driveway, for example. Motion-sensored lights would be enough to frighten anyone away, so those who are wanting to look through your skip might pass on yours if a light comes on, carrying on to another skip that’s more of an easy target.



Willshee’s are experts in the waste management industry. With many years of industry experience behind us and with a team of fully-trained, highly-skilled professionals at the helm of our operations, you can always count on us here at Willshee’s to provide you with the best waste management solutions for your individual situation. From domestic skips and commercial skips to grab hire lorries and hazardous waste removal, we’re dedicated to meeting your needs. For more information about how we can help you today, get in touch with a member of our friendly, knowledgeable team – we’re always happy to hear from you.


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