(StatePoint) Many homeowners have experienced the hassle of finding trashcans turned over and garbage scattered everywhere. This common occurrence is not only a headache; it poses significant risks to humans and animals alike. With increased deforestation and land development, the problem is growing.
According to the Humane Society, several hundred thousand animals are injured or killed annually nationwide as a result of getting into trash cans -- from ingesting foreign materials, to injuries to noses or paws on sharp objects. For humans, the potential danger is also real. Small, territorial animals like opossums and raccoons actively seeking food and looking to build nests can result in attacks and property damage. The risk is most acute in areas with bear populations.
“Damage caused to and by animals getting into trash is a real and rapidly growing problem,” says Jeniffer Coates, product manager for Toter, the leading manufacturer of rollout waste and recycling cans, carts and containers for the municipal and waste hauler markets. “We get more questions on how to keep animals out of the trash than on any other topic.”
The experts at Toter stress that the most effective prevention strategy is choosing the right trash bin and storing it properly. They are offering helpful tips to help you keep your lawn clean, while protecting your property, family and the environment:
• Many carts and cans claim to be animal-proof. Be sure to choose one rated by an outside group, such as Living with Wildlife, which performs exhaustive product testing to determine what’s strong enough to withstand repeated clawing, toppling and chewing. Before making a purchase, check with your city or waste hauler for any size or weight restrictions -- the name of the waste hauler is usually stamped on the can provided to you for pickup.
Also, pay attention to material and durability. While lighter materials offer portability, they can more easily be chewed through. Animals are tough on carts, but waste haulers can be even tougher. A well-made bin built for hauling can last 10 to 15 years under normal use and will likely come with a warranty.
• Rinse food containers before disposing. Rinse trash cans regularly. Cans with airtight seals are especially helpful, as are cart liners or deodorizers to minimize odors.
• Keep cans securely latched and lids closed at all times. Carts and cans should have heavy-duty latches or airtight seals that can be weighed down to ensure stability. Cans with bungee cords placed over the top and through the handles are particularly effective for dealing with smaller animals.
• Test positioning of cans and carts to ensure they’re secured and not easily toppled. Placing cans or carts up against your house or in a confined space helps reduce leverage that can work in favor of determined animals.
For more information on choosing the right can or cart for your needs, visit Toter.com.
By following simple waste management tips, you can avoid personal hassles while being an environmental hero, the ultimate win-win.