Imagine looking out your front window to see a stranger, or even a neighbor, rummaging through your waste. Watching someone sift through a public trash can is different than watching someone comb through your personal waste.

Related: Michigan Bed Bugs: 3 Cities CRAWLING on US 50 Most Infested

It's common to see someone rummaging through garbage in a Michigan city. I have seen it countless times in just about every medium to large metro I've been in, whether on the street or in a business. But what happens when you remove the 'city' from the equation and place that dumpster diver into a residential area?

Who Owns Curbside Trash in the State of Michigan?

Who Owns Your Garbage Once It's Curbside in Michigan?

Michigan laws state that once trash hits the curb, it becomes public domain. This means a stranger, law enforcement, and even your neighbor can scavenge and snoop through the things you wanted gone.

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Before you head out to grab a bag of streetside garbage from next door and go treasure hunting, it's best to check your local ordinances. Some cities, including Ann Arbor, Detroit, and Warren have made going through curbside trash illegal.

Who Owns Your Garbage Once It's Curbside in Michigan?

Here's the kicker. That garbage and all of its sticky, smelly, 5-day leftover-filled loveliness is legally yours if it is still on your property. So if you find someone on the side of your home, rooting around your garbage, they are trespassing and could face charges.

Related: DEAR DIRTBAG: Michigan's Backroads Aren't Your Landfill

So how do you keep from having your garbage examined by a complete stranger? You can either personally drive your refuse to a legal disposal facility or stand vigil by your garbage cans until they are picked up. It may also be a good idea to place a No Trespassing sign that is clearly visible on your property if you are concerned about your waste's privacy.

America's 50 Most Bed Bug Infested Cities For 2024

The pest control experts have crunched the data from 2023, to determine which is 2024's Most Bed Bug Infested in America. Using residential and commercial call volumes as a benchmark, let's countdown to the itchiest city in the USA.

Gallery Credit: Scott Clow

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