Detail :

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and Highlands County are teaming up to provide bear-resistant trash cans to county residents at discounted rates. Recently, Highlands County was awarded a BearWise Grant from FWC for $48,000. The money is being used to purchase bear-resistant trash cans.

If you live in Highlands County you will soon have an opportunity to purchase a bear-resistant trash can modified with a latching mechanism that works with the fully automated sidearm waste collection trucks. Highlands County and Waste Connections, Inc. are currently testing the cans to make sure they work properly under various load conditions (from 1 light bag of trash to stuffed full of trash).

Trash is the number one bear-attractor in Florida. Bears that become food conditioned are more likely to return to residential areas and cause property damage getting to a food source.  Bears also lose their fear of people and can become a threat. Using bear-resistant trash cans helps deter bears from associating your home to a food source.

The lock-top containers, designed to keep trash in and bears out, have proven effective in other communities in Florida. These special bear-tested cans with gravity locks;

  • Allow you to set garbage out overnight (instead of between 4-6 a.m.)
  • Work well with the County’s automated curbside collection
  • Discourage bears from making regular visits to neighborhoods
  • Eliminate the amount of trash you must clean up after bears


Remember, any food source that attracts dogs, cats or raccoons will attract bears.


Highlands County will sell the 95-gallon bear-resistant trash can at the highly discounted price of $75 plus tax. There is a process to obtaining the bear-resistant cans including an application. Successful applicants will include those residents who have called in complaints to FWC for bears in trash and/or those residents who live in high density black bear areas within Highlands County. The application is available at  or you can call the County’s Solid Waste Department at 863-402-6505 or email Bea Johnson at


 Never intentionally feed a bear. It’s illegal in Florida.

Remember, a fed bear, is a dead bear.