Dumpster Diving at Menards | Ultimate Guide

Hey, I’m Fredrick Perez! Your go to source.

Each year, Americans discard an estimated 230 million tons of trash, about 4.6 pounds per person per day. 

Yet what if we told you there’s potential treasure hiding in plain sight? 

So, in this article we will cover dumpster diving, is it illegal to dumpster dive at Menards, best time, and what to look for while dumpster diving.

Let’s begin!

Dumpster Diving at Menards

Dumpster Diving at Menards

Menards is a home improvement store chain based in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, with a history dating back to 1960. 

Known for its wide range of products catering to home improvement, construction, and DIY projects, it holds 351 stores and 12 distribution centers as of January 2023. 

Many customers turn to Menards for its diverse inventory, which includes electrical supplies, tools, lighting, paint, and even groceries.

While Menards may not be the first place that comes to mind when considering dumpster diving, it is surprisingly a treasure trove for the observant and resourceful. 

Often, items like slightly damaged tools or materials with damaged packaging are discarded – these can be salvaged and reused. 

Large quantities of wood, paint cans, and even hardware accessories can sometimes be found. 

Since Menards also sells groceries, there’s a chance of finding non-perishable food items past their sell-by date but still perfectly consumable.

While dumpster diving at Menards can potentially yield some valuable finds, always consider the potential impact on the store and its employees. 

Is it illegal to Dumpster Dive at Menards?

While dumpster diving is not explicitly illegal in most states, varying local ordinances and regulations might dictate its legality. 

In the case of dumpster diving at Menards, one has to consider that Menards’ dumpsters are located on private property. 

Thus, any unauthorized access to these dumpsters could be regarded as trespassing, which is illegal. 

Besides trespassing, dumpster divers also have to consider that discarding harmful or hazardous materials is a common practice for many businesses. 

Dumpster diving is generally legal in the United States, as determined by the Supreme Court case California vs. Greenwood in 1988. 

However, it can become illegal if it involves trespassing or violating local ordinances.

If Menards has clearly posted signs prohibiting trespassing or has placed their dumpsters in a fenced, locked, or otherwise clearly designated private area, dumpster diving could potentially lead to legal consequences. 

Best time to Dumpster Dive at Menards?

The prime time for dumpster diving at Menards, or any other retail store, greatly depends on their trash pick-up schedule and store hours. 

Generally, diving after store closing hours, which for Menards is typically 10 PM, often proves fruitful as it’s after the daily trash has been discarded. 

However, you should remember that local laws and regulations define the legality of dumpster diving. 

Lastly, while dumpster diving can yield surprising finds, always respect the property.

What to Pick from Dumpster Diving at Menards?

You can look for the items I’ve listed below:

1. Surplus Building Material

It’s not uncommon to find discarded building materials that are still in good condition, such as tiles, lumber, plumbing supplies, and electrical components. These may be leftovers from a large order or slightly damaged goods that weren’t sold.

2. Hardware

You should watch out for small items like screws, nails, bits of wire, and other hardware. They may seem insignificant but can be quite handy for DIY projects.

Garden Supplies

Also look for discarded plant pots, gardening tools, or even plants that are past their prime but can still be revived.

Light Fixtures

You might find light fixtures or parts of them. Even if they don’t work, the parts might be useful.


Sometimes, cans of paint, especially custom-mixed colors that were returned or overstocked, end up in the trash. Check if they are still sealed and usable.

Do Menards Throw Away Returns?

Menards has a comprehensive return policy, typically not discarding returned items unless they are damaged beyond resale value. 

According to the company’s official return policy, customers can return merchandise within 90 days of purchase provided they have the receipt, and the item is in its original packaging and condition. 

Consequently, most returned items are restocked and resold. 

However, if a product is damaged or not in a sellable condition, it may be disposed of or sent back to the manufacturer, depending on the specific circumstances. 

Therefore, it’s inaccurate to claim that Menards generally throws away returns.

How Much I Can Earn from Dumpster Diving at Menards?

Dumpster diving at retail locations like Menards can yield unpredictable results based on factors such as location, timing, and store waste management policies.

Based on anecdotal evidence from seasoned dumpster divers, salvaged items can be sold for a profit of anywhere from $10 to $100 per week. 

However, you should note that this is not a guaranteed or stable income source. Some weeks you may find valuable items, and other weeks you may come up empty-handed. 

So, if you are planning to dumpster diving at Sephora, Harbor Freight, Advance Auto Parts, or Dicks Sporting Goods; first you should check the state laws before going to your hunt.

Best Day for Dumpster Diving

There isn’t a universally best day for dumpster diving at Menards or any other stores due to varying policies and schedules. 

However, it’s worthwhile to note that businesses often have weekly routines which might include the day they restock items. 

On these days, they may dispose of return items, outdated stock, or slightly damaged goods. 

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