The smell of food coming from human garbage, compost, and recycling is irresistible to animals. Don’t worry, it is possible to prevent animals from getting into garbage cans.

How to animal-proof your garbage

Keep garbage secure

Keep your garbage inside until pick-up day—organic waste can be kept in a freezer to reduce smells. If garbage cans must be kept outside, store them in a closed shed or garage, or build a wooden lock-box with a padlock to hold the cans. Bungee cords can keep bins closed, but make sure to take them off the morning of garbage pickup.

Don’t leave it out overnight

Many scavenging species like raccoons, skunks, and opossums are nocturnal. Waiting until the morning of garbage pickup to put out your bins can prevent them from getting in.

Keep garbage off the ground

Animals can get into garbage cans by tipping them over and knocking open the lids. Bins with handles (like City of Toronto green bins) can be hung from a wall with a bicycle hook or a bungee cord.

Keep garbage clean

In cities with a compost program, food waste should go in the green bin. Rinse all recycling and other garbage before putting it in the right bin. Unwashed recycling and garbage not only attract wildlife, but can also hurt them: wild animals can get their heads or paws permanently stuck in cans, jars, and bottles.

Animal-proof your compost bin

If you compost in your backyard, here’s a great article about animal-proofing your compost bin or heap.