What you can do to avoid attracting bears

Posted: Sunday, October 07, 2001

* Sort trash and keep food in a separate can. Bears are opportunistic and if they have to work too hard they'll find an easier meal. They may knock a can over and paw at it but if they can't open it and don't get much encouragement from odors they will move on.

* Remove bear attractants from your yard: dog food, bird seed, fishing gear, barbecues and coolers.

* Use a garbage disposal to reduce food waste in the trash. Another option is to separate food waste, fish parts and other smelly trash. Bag and freeze it before putting it out.

* Hose out trash cans and keep them clean. Use plastic bags to contain the trash and tie them shut. A bear follows its nose. A clean can greatly reduces the attraction to a bear.

* Put trash out just before pickup. Cans containing smelly waste cannot be put out earlier than 4 a.m. on the day of pickup.

* Mike Allison, route manager for Waste Management, encourages building owners and managers to call him with any question regarding enclosures for trash containers. People have built sheds and enclosures that don't work either they don't keep bears out or they do keep trash collectors out. He can be reached at 780-7800, ext. 224.

* Think of the collection crew before resorting to extreme antibear measures. Each truck picks up about 1,000 cans a day and garbage men handle every can. Some folks have poured bleach or ammonia over their trash. Moderation is the key you don't want the garbage man getting a face-full of bleach fumes. Do not mix bleach and ammonia. Pinesol is also recommended. Sprinkling a little cayenne pepper on the trash or around the edge of the can is also worth a try.

* Bungee cords can effectively secure a lid to a garbage can. Garbage collectors have been injured by snapping Bungee cords. To prevent injury cords should be attached permanently to both handles and then pulled across the top. The cord should be tight enough so it doesn't come off if a bear tips the can over, but not so tight it can't be stretched over the top.

* If you're looking for a new garbage can, the gray commercial-grade Rubbermaid containers come highly recommended.


Sources: Members of the city's Urban Bear Committee and Waste Management staff.

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