If you live in the mountains, chances are, you have problems with bears getting into your trash. After several attempts at keeping the bears out, we chose to build a bear proof trash box. Proven to work, we are ready to share with you our solution!

The majestic black bears of North America have long captured our fascination with their beauty and power. However, coexisting with these creatures requires respecting the environment and adopting practical solutions to minimize potential conflicts.

One such solution is the creation of bear proof trash boxes, designed to thwart the foraging instincts of these animals while maintaining the cleanliness of our surroundings.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the importance of bear-proof containers, delve into the efforts of organizations like the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee, and provide you with a comprehensive guide to creating a bear-resistant trash box.

The Need for Bear-Proof Containers

As you may know, we coexist with black bears in the mountains of North Carolina.  Living in regions where black bears roam means embracing the responsibility of safeguarding our home. 

Not only do we want to protect our personal property but also the well-being of these remarkable animals. 

Bear-proof trash containers play a crucial role when living in the mountains.  By creating a bear resistant space, you are reducing the temptation for bears to rummage through waste, which can lead to dangerous interactions between bears and humans.

These bear interactions can be harmful for both parties involved. Potentially resulting in property damage, injury, or even the unnecessary neutralization of bears deemed a threat.

After a month or so of watching the bears drag our heavy duty trash can into the woods, we have decided it was time to build a bear-proof trash box.  

Before sharing how to build a similar box, let us first familiarize you with the IGBC.  

The Efforts of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC)

Ever heard of a bunch of folks teaming up to help bears and humans get along better? Well, that’s what the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC) is all about.

They’re like the dream team of wildlife experts, wildlife agencies, and all-around bear enthusiasts from across North America.

Their mission? To make sure we can share our neighborhoods with bears without any “trashy” conflicts.

One of their big goals is to create containers that are so bear-proof, even the cleverest bears can’t outsmart them.

A Metal Bear Proof Trash Container 

When it comes to selecting the best way to protect your trash from hungry bears, a bear-resistant trash container emerges as the most effective option. 

There are very expensive containers designed to withstand the intelligence and strength of bears.  Investing in a heavy-duty bear-resistant container is not only a responsible choice but also a testament to your commitment to environmental conservation.

DIY Wooden Bear Proof Trash Box

If you, too, are on a budget, and prefer to build your own bear box, here are some tips to get you started.  

In our area, the black bears continuously messed with our standard trash can.  Initially,  we purchased a set of bear straps on amazon to prevent the bears from getting to the trash bag.  

While the bear straps definitely game the bears a challenge, they took the entire can into the woods and managed to reach in just enough to pull out the trash bags.  With the bear straps still in tact, the bears managed to get out the bags, shred them, and leave our trash (with personal information) all over the property.  

DIY Bear proof trash box

Tired of retrieving our trash can, and cleaning up trash, Travis decided he wanted to build a bear proof trash box on our property.  

Using lumber and hardware from our local home improvement store, he built the perfect single can bear box.  

Once he got the lumber home, he began working to build the wooden bear proof trash box.

The walls, roof, and door of the structure was built in his work areas. He then transferred each section to the place on our property where the bear box would stay.

Piece by piece, he attached the walls and continued to build the bear proof trash box.

One of the most important steps he did when building this box was concreting it to the ground.

After digging holes for each post, and setting the structure into place, he poured concrete in to solidify the build.

Here is a final look at the DIY bear proof trash box. After taking this picture, we went to the store and purchased clips for the locks. They are simply an extra layer of protection against the bears.

If you are local to the western North Carolina area, and would like a bear box on your property, please reach out to us from the “About Us” page.

Tips for Creating a Bear Proof Trash Area

  1. Choose the Right Container: Opt for a bear-resistant container specifically designed to thwart bear attempts at accessing your trash. Rehrig Pacific, a leader in sustainable packaging solutions, offers a variety of heavy-duty bear-resistant options that have undergone rigorous testing.
  2. Consider the Location: Place the bear-proof container in a location that is easily accessible for your regular trash pickup service. This ensures that the container’s bear-resistant features are effectively utilized without causing inconvenience to you or the waste disposal professionals.
  3. Secure Trash Bags: While bear-resistant containers are effective, it’s still a good practice to place your trash in sturdy, sealed trash bags within the container. This adds an extra layer of protection against odors that might attract curious bears.
  4. Participate in Beta Test Programs: Some regions offer beta test programs for new bear-resistant container designs. Membership in such programs allows you to provide valuable feedback on container performance and durability, contributing to ongoing improvements in bear-resistant technology. We suggest googling your area plus “beta test program membership” and/or “participating beta test program retailer” to learn more. 
  5. Engage with Participating Retailers: If you’re interested in getting a bear-resistant container, check with participating retailers who are part of beta test programs. These retailers often have the latest and most effective containers available for purchase.

Promoting Best Practices

Adopting bear-resistant trash containers is a significant step in fostering harmonious coexistence with our wildlife neighbors. However, to truly minimize conflicts, it’s important to practice responsible waste disposal:

  • Limit Odors: Double-bagging your trash and rinsing food containers before disposal can help reduce the odors that attract bears.
  • Regular Pickup: Ensure your trash pickup schedule aligns with the frequency of waste collection in your area. Leaving trash out for extended periods increases the likelihood of bear encounters.
  • Community Efforts: Encourage your community to collectively invest in bear-resistant containers. Shared responsibility can lead to safer neighborhoods and healthier bear populations.


As we continue to share our living spaces with North America’s black bears, taking steps to minimize conflicts is essential.

By investing in the DIY bear-resistant trash box, we demonstrate our commitment to responsible coexistence while protecting our property and the well-being of these magnificent animals.

With organizations like the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee driving conservation efforts, and companies like Rehrig Pacific offering innovative solutions, crafting a bear-proof trash box is not just a practical choice but a profound statement of our dedication to preserving the natural world.

Before you go, here are more posts you’ll enjoy:

Tips for Camping in the NC Mountains

The Best Fly Fishing in North Carolina Mountains

50 Backyard Bonfire Ideas

DIY Bear proof trash box

Bear proof trash