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Be Bear Aware

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Unfortunately, in South Tahoe it has become more and more common for bears to frequent residential areas, and many have become habituated to feeding off of our garbage. At Clean Tahoe, we respond to hundreds of animals-in-trash incidents each year.  A bear that has frequent access to human food will likely lose its natural fear of humans and also may damage property in its quest to reach the food source, oftentimes resulting in a death sentence for the animal: “a fed bear is a dead bear.”


There are City and County ordinances requiring that garbage is not accessible to any animals, and it is critical that every resident and visitor do their part to keep our bears and other wildlife wild.



Only put food-related garbage out on the morning of your collection day:  Garbage that is put out the night before collection is an easy target for bears and other animals.


Never leave food in your car or garage:  Bears have a tremendous sense of smell and can easily smell food in a closed vehicle or garage, and bears that have been habituated to human food waste will likely be tempted to try to gain access to reach the food source.  Never leave food in your car, and do not store food or food waste in your garage.


Consider installing a metal bear bin: If you can’t always put garbage out on your collection day, the best option for garbage storage is a metal bear box.  While the cost may seem high, it is a small price to pay for peace of mind and convenience.


A new program is now available for South Tahoe homeowners to receive a loan for up to $1,300 for the purchase and installation of a bear bin. The loan program is administered by South Tahoe Refuse – call STR at 530-541-5105 for more information.


Below are bear bin models that are approved by the South Tahoe Basin Waste Management Authority.  Contact the individual companies for prices and other details.


No Bear Can, Carson Valley Welding: 775-884-9353

PAW Boxes, Rack It:  800-445-7666

Garbage Safe, GP Fabrication: 209-464-4614

Brown Bear, Brown Bear Home Care: 530-587-2895

Bearier & Tahoe Series, Tahoe Bear Box Company: 530-546-3154

Baker Bear Bin, Baker Bin: 530-587-1374,

Bear Guard Model 230 and 330, BearGuard: 530-581-2211


Unfortunately, we have recently seen a number of incidences of bears gaining access to the Bearicuda twist-lid trash cans that were once thought to be a less expensive alternative to the metal bear bins, so we no longer recommend those unless you are able to put your garbage out the morning of your collection day.


Give us a call at 530-544-4210 if you have questions.

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