You may have never found your trash to be anyone's treasure, but it easily could be the target of a police search.
As the law stands, there is no expectation of privacy in trash that you put out by the curb, and law enforcement can rifle through your refuse with wild abandon.
So what rights do any of us have to protect our trash from police searches? Here's a quick general overview:
Fourth Amendment protection. The Fourth Amendment protects you and your property from "unreasonable searches and seizures" without a warrant. This generally means that the government, including state, federal, and local law enforcement, cannot intrude into your privacy without probable cause.
Trash on the curb. Your right to privacy in your property extends outward to what is called a curtilage, the area immediately surrounding your home. This curtilage, however, does not include trash that is left outside your home on the curb for pickup. Since courts have decided you have no expectation of privacy in trash left out on the street, police are free to rummage through it without probable cause or a warrant.