Bears don’t shelter in place

There are no stay home orders for bears. Right now, they’re waking up from their long winter’s nap and heading out into a whole new world.

Millions of Americans are now denned up at home, preparing more meals and ordering more takeout. That means every household is creating more trash and garbage every week. Many waste haulers don’t have the resources to keep up with the high volume so trash might sit outside longer than usual. But if you’re stuck at home, you can pitch in and help make sure our accumulating trash doesn’t create problems for bears (and people).

Bears have super-sensitive noses that can sniff out food sources from up to five miles away. Just one trash can smells delicious and nutritious to a bear. A neighborhood full of trash creates quite the eau de garbage.

How to reduce the chances a hungry bear will find your trash

Now is a great time to get the family together and do something that can make a difference. Here are a few ways you can cut down on the amount of trash you put out and reduce the chances a hungry bear will follow its nose to your house.

RINSE: Please take time to rinse out cans, bottles and containers, including carry-out containers and pizza boxes, so the odors don’t attract bears.

COMPACT: The less space your trash and recycling take up, the more room the garbage trucks will have. And you can use up some of your bottled-up energy crushing and compacting stuff.

GRIND UP: Now’s the time to put your garbage disposal to work. More down the drain means less out at the curb.

FREEZE: Start a bag in your freezer for anything that might smell before it gets picked up. Add it to your trash the morning of pick up.

STORE SAFELY: If your garbage can is not bear-resistant, keep it inside a sturdy building until the morning of pick up. If it IS bear-resistant, be sure it’s closed and latched.

Read more about bear-resistant containers and barriers.

We’re all in this together. We know you can’t meet with your neighbors in person right now, but please pass this along. Together you can make a difference for people and bears.

BearWise®. Created by bear biologists. Supported by State Wildlife Agencies.
Dedicated to helping people live responsibly with black bears.
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