Garbage, Organics & Recycling

Be Bear Aware!

The RDKB is a beautiful home for people and wildlife. To make sure it stays that way, we each need to take responsibility for managing our garbage so it doesn’t attract wildlife and cause harm.

Over 60 percent of human-wildlife conflict calls to the BC Conservation Officer Service are due to garbage that is accessible to bears.

The majority of bear/garbage interaction takes place in people’s back yards and carports between garbage collection days. This means we have to be aware of bears and other wildlife when handling and storing garbage, recycling and organic waste.

How to Secure Your Garbage, Recycling and Green Bins from Bears

Bears are always looking for their next meal and are attracted by anything that smells. If we contain or eliminate items that cause odours, we remove a wildlife attractant. You can minimize a bear’s access to your garbage, recycling and green bins by following a few basic guidelines:

  • Store your garbage, recycling and green bins in a closed, locked garage or shed, even if empty – bins will hold a residual smell.
  • If a bin is stored outside, secure it to a post using a cable so that it can’t be dragged away.
  • Place bins at the roadside only on the morning they are collected – never the night before.
  • Put your green bin out for collection every week, even if  you only have a small amount of organics in the bin.
  • Put meat, bones, fish, dairy, oils, fat and fruit in your green bin – never in your backyard compost bin.
  • Minimize odours by freezing meat and other smelly food scraps, and don’t put them in the green bin until collection day.
  • Keep bins clean – use a bin liner or rinse your bins after each use. For more ideas on how to keep your bins clean, see our ‘Tips to Reduce the “Yuck” Factor’.

The BC Wildlife Act requires us each to secure all wildlife attractants or face fines. Conservation Officers now have the authority to issue “Dangerous Wildlife Protection Orders” to owners or occupiers of land to have them contain, move or remove food, food waste, compost or garbage that may attract bears. If you want to report a known or suspected violation of fisheries, wildlife, or environmental protection laws, use the RAPP form or call the 24/7 RAPP line at 1.877.952.7277.

Bears and Backyard Composting
If your compost pile isn’t properly aerated and isn’t getting enough oxygen, it will decompose anaerobically. Anaerobic decomposition produces methane which is both a Greenhouse Gas (GHG) and a bear-attracting gas. 

Use your curbside green bin collection service for items like dairy, meat and sugars. Smelly items such as cooked leftovers are very attractive to passing scavengers.

Design your compost bin right. Ensure it has adequate ventilation and can drain excess moisture. Many black plastic composters retain too much moisture, which can cause the pile to ‘go anaerobic.’

What else can I do to be bear aware? 
Visit WildSafe BC for more information about how to reduce human-wildlife conflict, and make your yard or home less attractive to black bears or other wild (or domestic) scavengers. 

For more tips on how to bear-proof your backyard compost bin, check out our Organics page.