I live in an area where very large bears (500 - 1,000 lbs.) get into the trash every other night. It is a large trash can with wheels and a heavy duty lid. It is surrounded by cinder blocks with pallets placed over the cinder blocks. The bears have no struggle throwing everything around and making a mess.

What sort of repellant can I use to make the bear leave my trash alone?

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  • LOL, I heard that at Yellowstone bears will rip the doors off SUVs to get at food they know is inside the car. Jan 11, 2016 at 21:45
  • you can use the method that they use when protecting food from bears while camping. get a rope and tie it up in a tree out of their reach
    – Dragonrage
    Jan 12, 2016 at 18:18
  • does mace or pepper spray work on bears???
    – Adam
    Jan 13, 2016 at 3:52

3 Answers 3


Perhaps you could use a chain and padlock to secure the lid closed. You probably wouldn't even need a padlock, just something like a 'D' shackle which I wouldn't think a bear would be able to unscrew.

Bin locked with chain and padlock D Shackle

There are also commercial bin locking devices available if you want a pre-made solution:




Bears are intelligent, have long claws and are immensely strong. Odor will not deter them. There are a number of bear-resistant trash containers on the market, e.g. Bearsaver, though I expect they're a bit pricey.

For small amounts of trash, suspending a receptacle with rope and pulley from a tall tree might work, though small bears do climb.

If you decide to create your own container, see the hints at BearSmart.com, such as reducing odor from food waste, fitting lids with recessed latches, and making the container strong and tip-resistant.

See what a bear can do to a "container" such as a car.

  • LOL hoist the trash into a tree. You live in the city don't you? Jan 11, 2016 at 21:48

The only way to protect trash from a bear without using specific bear-proof containers is to build an enclosure with a VERY rugged door, think steel, with multiple latches. Looks like you have some cinderblocks, so I guess that is one step in that direction. Maybe hire a mason to build an enclosure?

Option 2 is to forget the plastic things and use actual bear-proof containers, which are generally 55-gallon steel drums (think oil barrels with locking lids). You can buy them. They are a complete pain in the ass to use.

There is no way to "repel" a bear. (Leonardo DiCaprio can tell you about that.)

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