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Reduce stink for bears' sake

Ahhh, the sweet smells associated with warm weather.

Ahhh, the sweet smells associated with warm weather. Barbecues churning out tasty aromas, the sugary smell of marshmallows roasting in backyard fire pits, the sweet smell of berries ripening and - the foul stench of un-rinsed recycling?

With the curbside recycling program in full swing, we need to pay special attention to rinsing and cleaning out our recycling. While the vast majority of residents and businesses are doing their best to be Bear Aware (a big bear hug for your efforts) there are still those who need to be reminded. A bear's nose is its window to the world.

As the saying goes "A pine needle fell in the woods. The eagle saw it. The deer heard it. The bear smelled it." With a nose seven times more sensitive than a bloodhound's notorious snout, bears can sniff out molecules of food so small that they are invisible to the naked eye. A bear was known to travel upwind 4.8 km in a straight line to reach a deer carcass - now that's a nose.

Washing and rinsing your recycling goes a long way in reducing odours. One savvy resident hangs a baking soda box within a net bag inside her totes in an attempt to reduce odours, another resident rinses out each tote with Borax. Ammonia or bleach will do the same trick.

Because of the smells that are associated with garbage and recycling, it remains important to only place totes curbside on the day of collection. Odours attract bears into our neighbourhoods and with the added benefit of the safe cover of darkness, we are encouraging nighttime tote raiding.

Imagine a bear that's never had a taste of human food stumbling across a tote left out at the curb overnight. If this bear gets a food reward from the tote, it will quickly learn that it's worth the risk of getting close to humans because the pay off is too good to pass up.

This bear's natural fear of humans and of buildings/enclosures will wane and it will start to approach homes and carports in the search for more "meal on wheels."

The bottom line is we need to work on being unattractive - to bears that is - and we can do this by being less aromatic.

For ideas on how to reduce garbage/recycling odours contact Carney's Waste Systems at 604-892-5604 or Bear Aware at 604-815-5066.

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