TAVARES — Lake County is rolling out its bear-resistant garbage cart program, with approximately 840 specialized carts available for county residents living in areas with the most reported human-bear interactions.
“The distribution of carts is timely, as bears are most active during the fall months,” said Mary Hamilton, Environmental Services Manager. “While these carts will be very helpful to those living in areas with large populations of Florida black bears, such as Astor and Royal Trails, it is still important for all residents to be bear-wise and practice the safe disposal of trash.”
The carts, purchased through a $200,000 Florida Fish & Wildlife (FWC) grant, are available at a discounted price of $40, and can be purchased on a first-come, first served basis for affected residents. Solid Waste staff will deliver the new cart in exchange for the resident’s existing county trash cart. To request a bear-resistant trash cart, residents may call Lake County Solid Waste at 352-343-3776.
Residents should be aware of their surroundings to avoid potential conflicts with bears, and follow Lake County’s ordinance that requires trash to be kept secure. To keep bears away from homes, follow these tips from FWC:
• Secure household garbage in a sturdy shed, garage or a bear-resistant container.
• Put household garbage out on the morning of pickup rather than the night before.
• Protect gardens, beehives, compost and livestock with electric fencing.
• Encourage your homeowners association or local government to institute ordinances on keeping foods that attract wildlife secure.
• Feed pets indoors or bring in dishes after feeding outdoors.
• Clean grills and store them in a secure place.
• Remove wildlife feeders or make them bear-resistant.
• Pick ripe fruit from trees and remove fallen fruit from the ground.