At first, I thought bears eat garbage because they lack food. But after a quick research, I found that its because bears are lazy as hell, just like humans.
Garbage provide easy food for bears. It is not good though, as plastic and other such things in garbage actually kill the bear. But once they know the taste of garbage the prospect of death doesn’t seem to stop them at all.
This is also dangerous for humans as well, the normally shy bear becomes more daring once it lives in populated areas.
So the best way to avoid this is to prevent bears from getting into garbage cans. And the most common method is using bear proof trash cans.
Best bear proof garbage cans
Here are some good trash cans that are bear-resistant;
1. BEARicuda Stealth 2 garbage can
BEARicuda is a Connecticut based company that specializes in making bear-resistant garbage cans. They have different models of these cans, and they are available for purchase from their website.
The best of their bear-resistant models is Stealth 2. This garbage can is very thick, it is built like a tank. It is 100% made of very high quality rotationally molded plastic that is very strong. Unlike many other bear proof trash cans, this one doesn’t have any metallic rims to reinforce it, so it won’t rust.
Its hinge is well built to withstand shocks and any attempts of bears to break it. Its locking mechanism is one of a kind. There is a small button in front of the garbage can which you have to rotate counterclockwise to open it. Obviously, bears can’t do that. The latch also closes automatically when you close the lid.
In addition, there is a fork lever under the front apron of the can which you can turn and open the can. This lever is designed to automatically open the garbage can when the hauler tips it during automated curb collection. This way the driver or the owner doesn’t have to come out and open the can manually. In short, bears can’t open it no matter how hard they try but people and machines can!
In case the latching mechanism gets damaged you can simply pull it out from the bin by pushing a button inside it, and replace it with a new unit.
Also, note that the bin has an inset to make the lid fit it perfectly, this prevents any water from entering the bin. It also leaves no edges on the lid for bears to chew. The corners of this garbage bin are round and smooth so it is pretty difficult for even an experienced bear to chew through them.
It is available in 64 and 95-gallon sizes. Both of them have 12-inch rubber wheels for easy maneuvering. It is covered under a 3-year warranty.
BEARicuda has spent a lot of thoughts in designing this trash can, this one is my favorite of all.
2. Toter Bear Tough trash can
There is nothing better than a bear reviewing a bear-resistant trash can. Toter did exactly that and posted its videos all around the internet.
The TOTER bear touch trash can was awarded a 3-star rating by Living With Wild Life Foundation, it is the highest rating given to any trash cans.
This garbage can has a bear-resistant lock on top of the lid. To open it, place your finger into the lock and pull back the trigger inside and hold it. Then pull up the lid of the trash can. The latching mechanism auto-closes when you close the lid. Definitely, this is not as easy to open as the BEARicuda Stealth 2. I also don’t like the fact that I have to put my finger into a hole, what if there are some insects or a spider in it?
The construction of the bin is pretty solid. It is made of double-walled, rotational molded plastic just like the Stealth 2. In addition, it uses a steel-reinforced rim to further reinforce the weakest parts. Its hinge is also very good.
The Toter trash can has round, strong corners which makes it impossible for bears to chew on the corners. The bin has a granite finish which helps to hide normal scratches but I don’t think that’s effective in hiding any bear paw marks.
It is available in 32, 64 and 96-gallon sizes. It also has two wheels for easy moving. Toter gives it a warranty for 3-years which is pretty good for an outdoor trash can.
Is it possible to make an ordinary outdoor trash can bear proof?
Provided the outdoor garbage can you have is built strong, it is possible. If you checked the trash cans I reviewed above you know that they are pricey. So retrofitting a trash can is the cheaper option.
It is not that hard to do either. Here is how you can easily do it with nylon webbings and a few tools.
Of course, not every trash can be retrofitted like this. It needs to have a strong front apron, and also one the lid to screw in the nylon webbings. What Jim uses in the above video is a Rehrigpacific trash can. If yours is a similar model you can make it bear-proof at a low cost.
On further research, I found another video by Jim (the same guy) about bear-proofing an ordinary Toter trash can. Here is how it is done;
Obviously, this is going to make opening the trash can a little more difficult. It is ok if you are using it for storage, but for trash this sure is inconvenient.
Another option is to use a lid lock or a strap. Here are some such items you can purchase. These may not be that effective but they work most times.
Which are the other ways to deter bears?
There are many other methods recommended in deterring bears away from trash cans. One most recommended option is to store the trash cans in your garage or sheds. But make sure that these are strong because some bears can be very determined.
There are some metal enclosures you can purchase from sites like BearSaver which are fantastic.
Another recommendation is to use scent deterrents like ammonia or bleach. Bears hate strong chemical smells, so placing small containers of bleach or ammonia (do not mix these two as that’s dangerous) with small holes to spread the smell. Do not use ammonia-filled ballons or similar techniques as ammonia can blind bears making them more dangerous.
Sometimes lighting the area of the trash can or playing a radio can deter bears. Also, some people use ‘unwelcome mats’ which are basically mats with small nails pointing upward. These are very effective at discouraging even the most stubborn bears.
Electric fencing is also recommended but you will have to check with the authorities first.