SECURE FOOD, GARBAGE, AND RECYCLING
It’s all food to a black bear. A bear’s strongest sense is smell. They can pick up a scent from over a mile away! That is more than seven times better than a bloodhound. Food and food odors attract bears, so don’t reward them with easily available food, liquids, or garbage.
If you and your neighbors keep your food and garbage secure from bears, you will go a long way toward keeping bears in the wild and out of your neighborhood. We urge you to follow this list of simple precautions.
* Human foods, from picnic lunches to spilled snacks on the ground, can easily attract bears. Never leave human foods outside unattended. Pick up all leftovers and bring them inside.
* Garbage and recycling should be stored where bears can’t smell or access to it: either in a bear-resistant container or inside a bear-resistant building.
* Haul garbage and recycling to an approved disposal site as often as possible, but at least once a week to avoid buildup of odors. Garbage and recycling pick-up? If you have garbage pick-up once or twice a week, put your cans on the curb the morning of pick-up, never the night before.
* The safest way to compost in bear country is to create your compost pile inside an electric fence or use one of the many available bins, tumblers or outdoor containers meant to keep odors in and bears out.
Anything that attracts dogs or raccoons will attract bears, too!
What is a secure container, and where can I get one?
Secure = Bear-Resistant
Bears are extremely strong with deft claws and sharp teeth. If they have time (like all night long…) and motivation (hunger!), they can get into anything not specifically designed to keep them out.
A bear-resistant trash can or dumpster looks just like the ones you know, but has been reinforced with locks or a push-to-open latching system. In addition, bear-resistant dumpster lids must be made of metal or reinforced with metal, not just plastic.
If your waste service provider does not offer bear-resistant trash cans, you can purchase your own wildlife-resistant container or dumpster. Before purchasing a bear-resistant container, be sure to check with your waste service provider to ensure they will service it. The up-front cost is worth it when considering replacement of ruined garbage cans and time spent picking up scattered trash. Your action on behalf of bears will make a difference for bears and your community.
For more information on purchasing and building bear-resistant trash cans, visit