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Peninei Halakha > Pesah > 05 – Bitul and Bi’ur Ḥametz > 05. Ḥametz in the Garbage

05. Ḥametz in the Garbage

On the morning of the 14th of Nisan the question arises: Must ḥametz that has been placed in the garbage also be destroyed?

If the garbage bin belongs to a Jew or is located on his property, the owner should, le-khatḥila, pour bleach or some other foul substance on the ḥametz to render it unfit for consumption by a dog. When necessary, since ḥametz that has been thrown into the garbage is considered disgusting, there is no need to further befoul it, as it is already deemed eradicated given its disgusting state.

If the garbage container is the property of the local authority and is located in the public domain, one need not destroy the ḥametz he placed in it before the ḥametz becomes prohibited. The local authority is not obligated to destroy it because it was not interested in acquiring the ḥametz to begin with. Its only aim was to remove it to a garbage dump.[4]

[4]. Igrot Moshe OḤ 3:57 states that placing ḥametz in the trash is a clear indication that one renounces ownership of the ḥametz. However, if the trash bin belongs to him, according to Taz and MA 445:3 he has a rabbinic obligation to burn the ḥametz. However, if the trash can is in the public domain, he does not have to burn any ḥametz he placed inside the trash can. Bedikat Ḥametz U-vi’uro 3:45 adds that if the ḥametz is so filthy that clearly no person would use it for any purpose, it is considered destroyed. It also states in n. 130 there that ḥametz that is unfit for humans but suitable for dogs only must be destroyed if the ḥametz is able to cause other dough to become ḥametz. However, if the ḥametz is so filthy that it is no longer suitable to any person for any purpose, it is considered nullified and need not be destroyed (see also Piskei Teshuvot 445:7, which cites other opinions). Nevertheless, when one discards his trash into a bag, as is the modern custom, the ḥametz does not always become that dirty. Thus, if the trash can is in his domain, it is best to dispel all doubt and refrain from discarding ḥametz that is still suitable for dogs into that particular trash can in the days leading up to Pesaḥ.

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Editor: Nechama Unterman