Waste Pro continues efforts to keep bears out of trash
Monday, December 13, 2010
Media contact: Patricia Behnke, 850-251-2130
Keeping garbage out of the paws of bears has been a
little easier for some folks in Franklin and Wakulla counties in
the Panhandle, thanks to Waste Pro. In June 2009, the company
purchased 200 bear-proof containers to help residents keep trash
away from bears and other wildlife. Waste Pro soon found the demand
for the cans far outstripped what it had to offer, so it recently
ordered an additional 200 bear-proof cans, which are now available
"Once people with our bear-proof cans started
talking with their friends and neighbors, it wasn't long until we
handed out our last can and had to start a waiting list," said
Candace Clemons of Waste Pro in Eastpoint.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation
Commission (FWC) conducted a survey of the residents who used the
first batch of bear-proof cans offered by Waste Pro, as well as
businesses that use bear-proof dumpsters. Approximately 60 percent
of the respondents had bear conflicts 1 to 7 times a week before
using a bear-proof device. After using bear-proof devices, 73
percent of respondents said their bear conflicts dropped to once
every 6 to 12 months. More than 95 percent of respondents were
satisfied with the bear-proof cans and dumpsters and were likely to
"It is clear when people have access to bear-proof
cans and dumpsters, it can significantly reduce bear conflicts,"
said Dave Telesco, the FWC's bear management coordinator.
"Bear-proof dumpsters are widely available; unfortunately,
bear-proof residential cans are not."
The FWC hopes that Waste Pro's success in offering
bear-proof residential cans will encourage other waste-service
companies to offer them throughout the state where humans live in
close proximity to bears.
From Jan. 1 to Dec. 1, the FWC received more than
3,800 calls concerning bears; almost 40 percent of those were to
report bears getting into garbage. In Wakulla County, 56 percent of
the calls were to report bears in garbage.
"The high percentage of calls involving garbage
shows we need to work closely with waste-service providers and
local governments, as well as residents to reduce conflicts that
result from bears coming into neighborhoods," Telesco said. "The
more waste-service providers that offer bear-proof cans, the fewer
bear conflicts we will have."
Unsecured garbage attracts rats, feral cats and
dogs, and raccoons, all of which can carry disease and become a
public safety hazard.
While wildlife-resistant containers are an
excellent tool in reducing conflicts, the cans are expensive, and
they are often not available for individual purchase. It falls to
the waste-service provider to take on those extra costs to offer
some relief to their customers. Waste Pro voluntarily ordered the
wildlife-resistant cans and began distributing them to interested
residents in Franklin County on June 1, 2009.
Because of the added costs for these containers, Waste Pro is
charging $5 per month in addition to the regular monthly service
"We've made an investment in this community to help
them with their bear problems," said Ralph Mills, regional vice
president of Waste Pro. "We're pleased we can work with the FWC and
our customers to provide the tools they need to deal with the
People can minimize or eliminate bear conflicts by
securing attractants such as garbage in wildlife-resistant
containers and by removing or cleaning up other attractants in the
yard. If followed, these simple changes can be successful in
protecting the health of Florida's diverse wildlife and its
The FWC is working with waste-service providers,
such as Waste Pro, and local governments across the state to
implement cost-effective solutions to this shared problem.
For more information on wildlife-resistant
containers and to find out what you can do to avoid bear conflicts,
go to MyFWC.com/Bear. Franklin and Wakulla county homeowners
interested in the wildlife-resistant containers offered by Waste
Pro can call 850-697-8800 or visit their website at www.wasteprousa.com.