The Zero Waste team offers advice on how to live safely with bears. Courtesy/LAC

ZERO WASTE News:

  • Zero waste tip: a fed bear is a dead bear!

Keep food waste out of your waste cart until collection day. One option is to store food scraps like leftover meat, wrappers that smell of food, cheese, grease, fruit, desserts, and other appealing food scraps in your freezer. This not only protects wildlife, but greatly reduces unpleasant odors for anyone who has to take out the trash!

Paying attention to how we handle our waste can help keep bears and other wildlife safe, protect the environment, and conserve valuable resources.

Here are a few tips:

  • Store your trash cart inside a garage, shed, or other sturdy structure until the morning of trash pickup.
  • Keep food waste out of your waste cart until collection day. One option is to store food scraps like leftover meat, cheese, fat, fruit, desserts, and other appealing food scraps in your freezer. This not only protects wildlife, but greatly reduces unpleasant odors for anyone who has to take out the trash!
  • Gently rinse your recyclables before putting them in the blue recycling cart, to eliminate food odours.
  • Properly compost your vegetable scraps at home:
    • Never compost meat, fish, oil, eggs, dairy products, sweets or large amounts of fruit in your garden as they can attract wildlife, including rodents and bears.
    • Place the compost away from the house.
    • Keep your compost pile odor free by turning it often and including brown material (dry leaves, grass, etc.)
    • Consider indoor composting with worms.
    • If you don’t have space to compost, see if a neighbor might be interested in your food scraps!
  • Keep your trash can clean by using bags to contain your trash.
  • If you have fruit trees, pick the fruit as it ripens. Remove fallen fruit from your garden. If you don’t want to pick yourself, advertise on Facebook for others to pick fruit or post a Pick Me sign in your front yard to allow others to pick fruit.
  • Use washable/reusable storage and serving containers and utensils rather than disposable materials such as polystyrene, plastic wrap, aluminum foil, etc., to prevent food from smelling like garbage.
  • Clean the grates immediately after use.
  • Collect cooking oil and fat in a glass, plastic or metal container with a lid. When you’re ready to dispose of it, transfer it to a plastic bag, seal the bag tightly, and place it in the trash the morning of pickup.
  • Bring dog food bowls and bird feeders to avoid attracting bears to your property.
  • Never feed a bear! A fed bear is a dead bear.

These are just a few of the ways our Zero Waste team has found to cohabit safely with bears and other wildlife. Reducing human-bear interactions not only protects you, but the bears as well.

Share your favorite experience, tips and solutions to reduce human interactions with bears on the Los Alamos County Environmental Services Facebook.

For more information, see the Los Alamos County Environmental Services webpage at www.losalamosnm.us/gogreen. For those with questions or concerns, please contact Environmental Services at 505.662.8163 or [email protected]

* Zero Waste Team: The Environmental Sustainability Board (ESB) and Environmental Services Division (ESD) formed the Zero Waste Team to educate the community on:

  • Reduce waste and greenhouse gas emissions, and
  • Save energy and water.

Comprised of community volunteers and Los Alamos County employees, the team achieves ESB and ESD load through print and digital messages shared through traditional media sites, social media and brochures. Additionally, Zero Waste team members work with individuals and organizations, such as restaurants, businesses, schools, and residents, to incorporate these best practices for reducing and conserving into daily routines.

To join or contact the Zero Waste team, contact [email protected].