Don’t Feed the Bears!

The local saying goes “a fed bear is a dead bear.” That’s because bears that get into garbage become nuisance bears who might pose a threat to people and their property. Potentially dangerous bears are usually killed. Thus, it’s important not to feed bears with your garbage. Even the best prevention device will not work if not used properly. Most animal problems we see result from people failing to latch the container after placing garbage out for collection. So always think “Bear-Aware” and remember to securely latch your garbage container. For excellent educational information about bears in our area, visit the local
Bear League website

To prevent bears from getting in your trash, we encourage customers to consider purchasing an animal-resistant enclosure or bear shed. TTSD does not sell bear sheds, however, we have compiled a list of local vendors who sell county and town-approved bear sheds. Be sure to check with local communities, homeowners groups, governing entities or public works departments to become aware of any restrictions on enclosure types or placement. Some jurisdictions, such as Placer County, require the installation of bear sheds for new home construction, remodels exceeding 500 square feet or after repeated bear intrusions.
View list of vendors

A loan program is available for residential homeowners in eastern Placer County looking for a simple way to fit the cost of bear-resistant garbage can enclosures into monthly budgets. Under the program, eligible homeowners who live in unincorporated areas of Placer County east of Colfax can apply for a five-year, interest-free loan that would be repaid through $22 per month surcharges on quarterly garbage bills.
View loan program summary


Before investing in a bear-resistant garbage enclosure, please review the following considerations, which are based on our forty years’experience in the industry and area served.

Desirable Features

  • Double-can enclosures are preferable to single-can models as they allow for the protection of occasional extra garbage, as well as participation in the Blue Bag Recycling Program in which Blue Bags must be separated from the regular garbage.
  • Single door entry. The fewer the doors, the fewer the access points for a marauding bear. Also, single door access is more likely to be properly secured by the user (homeowner or renter) and thus is more resistant to animal break-ins. Doors should be large enough to easily remove a lidded 32-gallon can, plus any extra bags or boxes, without spilling contents.
  • Front-door entry. In some top-door enclosures, water can collect and freeze, icing the top doors shut and/or seep from the doors into the garbage cans, resulting in excessive weights, icing problems, and seepage from cans. Some models have corrected the problem by using a gutter.
  • Plunging pins securing both top and bottom in locking mechanism.
  • Keyed flush-mount entry lock. Protruding handles and surface-mount locks will likely be broken. Standard key access for this area is the solid square key. Tapered keys are less likely to get stuck or remain positioned in the lock mechanism.
  • Inside safety levers for emergency egress to help prevent children from being locked inside.
  • Rolled metal at access points. Flat metal door edges tend to provide an easier grip for the claw of the bear. Rolled metal door edges provide strength to the door (to prevent bending) and a more difficult edge to claw open.
  • Roofs with side or back snow shedding. Roofs that shed forward will drop snow in front of the door, blocking access.
  • Enclosures that shed forward are more likely to spill trash to the rear of the unit.
  • Air vent
  • A seller who stands behind their product. Be certain the person who sells the product is ready, willing, and available to repair any problems or damages that may arise.

Placement of Enclosure

  • TTSD is happy to meet with you at your site, free of charge, to discuss the most suitable location for your enclosure.
  • All enclosures should be elevated above the ground to prevent access problems with ice and snow. Single pole mounts should be sufficiently sturdy to withstand bear attacks and snow load.
  • Enclosures must be accessible for servicing (i.e. relatively flat and open area in front of doors, out of traffic, proximate to the roadway, not mounted too high, snow and ice cleared, etc.).
  • Enclosure placement must be between 15 and 25 feet from the county or town maintained road. Placements outside of 25 feet from the edge of the roadway will require additional weekly service fees for TTSD staff to service.
  • It’s always prudent to check with local communities, homeowners groups, governing entities, or public works departments to become aware of any restrictions imposed on enclosure types or placement locations.

Use and Maintenance of Enclosure

  • Never allow children to play in, on, or around enclosure.
  • Educate all tenants or renters on proper usage of container.
  • Keep enclosures accessible on service day (unobstructed by snow, ice, parked cars, etc.).
  • Use lids on cans in enclosure to help suppress odors. (No screw-on lids.)
  • Latch doors firmly in closed position.
  • IMPORTANT: Always leave keys out of door lock mechanism. Keys left in the lock can be broken off by a bear, damaging the lock mechanism.
  • If the door is damaged, do not force it closed, as it will probably damage the hinge. See your representative for repair.
  • Inspect enclosure periodically. Check weld points, hinges, paint, rust, and cement pedestal (for cracks). Check garbage cans for wear, especially on bottom. Keep a clean shed to avoid odors.