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Improperly stored garbage is the most common cause of human-bear conflicts. Storing garbage out of the reach of bears
- can prevent them from returning to your home, ranch or camp in search of food
- forces bears to seek out natural food sources away from human-use places
- minimizes the potential for property damage caused by wildlife
Remember that bear-resistant bins must be properly latched and regularly cleaned to prevent the odours that attract bears.
Bear Resistant Garbage Disposal Tips for...
For recommendations on managing garbage at industrial camps in bear country, see:
Consider implementing bylaws that require secure storage of residential garbage and prohibit placement of garbage for curb-side pickup until the morning of collection.
In some areas, centrally located bear-resistant dumpsters can be used in place of curbside pickup. Over the long term, these systems can reduce collection costs and provide an effective means to prevent access to garbage by bears.
Landfills and transfer sites must be securely fenced and maintained to prevent access by bears.
For recommendations from Alberta Fish and Wildlife on preventing wildlife conflicts at waste management facilities, see:
If they are available at your camping location, dispose of your garbage in bear-resistant trash bins.
- Ensure the bins are properly latched.
- Immediately inform the campsite attendant if trash bins are full or require maintenance.
If bear-resistant trash bins aren't available and you're camping alongside your vehicle:
- Store all garbage in your vehicle until it can be disposed of at an appropriate facility.
- Never leave garbage where it can be reached by bears.
When camping in the backcountry, you can dispose of your garbage in the following ways:
- Seal garbage in airtight containers or bags and store it out of the reach of bears.
- If you decide to burn your garbage, be sure to burn it completely, as garbage that is not burned completely to ash can still attract bears.
- Pack out all garbage with you when you leave.
Store your garbage inside your garage or other secure outbuilding to prevent access by bears. If your municipality has curbside pickup, put your garbage out for collection only on the morning of collection. Never leave garbage outside overnight.
Consider purchasing a residential bear-resistant garbage container (see graphic at right). Remember that to be effective, lids must be properly latched and containers should be regularly washed to prevent buildup of odours.
Be equally careful in managing your garbage when using your community's parks and pathways. Bears that move through town often use the green spaces as travel corridors. Garbage left in these spaces may encourage the bears to stay and seek out further food sources.
Keep the parks and pathways clean by using the bear-resistant bins, and pack your garbage home when bear-resistant bins are not available.