More than likely, you don’t really think about your garbage until trash day. However, if you keep it outside in a bin or similar container, it’s a sure target for critters. Keeping Massachusetts beautiful is difficult enough without raccoons, rats, coyotes, and other wildlife (as well as neighborhood dogs and cats) digging into the trash, eating it, and scattering it.
Fortunately, there are ways to keep pests out of your garbage through simple or more elaborate means. Securing your trash will help keep your neighborhood litter-free, while also protecting wild animals and pets from ingesting something that might be harmful to their health.
Here’s a simple guide to protecting your trash from wild animals and pets.
Keep the Trash Out of Reach
Surely the simplest way to keep animals away from your refuse is to make sure your trash can or dumpster is sealable. Don’t put it near a tree, fence, or similar tall object that animals might use as a ladder to the top of the waste receptacle. Don’t stack smaller cans, containers, or more solid pieces of trash nearby because they too can serve as stairways to garbage heaven. If you know your trash is near a place where wild critters pass on their nightly journeys, consider moving it away from there. Remove the temptation and you remove the pests.
Quench the Stench
The next step toward protecting your trash from wild animals is to perform the seemingly impossible job of reducing the garbage’s stink. Tightly tie off plastic trash bags to ensure food smells don’t attract the sniffers of sundry animals. Again, seal the lid for an extra degree of coverage. If you aren’t occasionally rinsing out and washing your garbage bins, start doing so at least once a month, especially in the summer months when the heat can cause the stink to rise. Clean garbage cans sound like an oxymoron, but they’re possible, and they do keep the beasts away! Finally, give the cans a quick spritz of disinfectant now and again to further disguise that appetizing (to raccoons and others) food smell.
Give It Shelter
If you want to add another level of protection to the trash while beautifying your home, consider building a trash enclosure. Chain link fences are good at keeping humans and automobiles from getting at your trash cans, but a wooden trash enclosure also does the job and keeps raccoons, pets and other critters by covering all the angles. And they look better than a stack of trash cans besides! Just be sure to patch up any cracks or holes that may develop over time.
Light It Up!
Motion-activated lights can do a lot to scare off or dissuade nocturnal invaders from attacking your trash. Lights are available that can deliver a blinding flash should a critter or other scavenger decide to approach your trash. Plus, they also discourage humans with bad intentions from hanging around. Consider combining the lights with cameras so that you can track the comings and goings of any interlopers over time. Knowing their habits and patterns is a good way to catch them in the act and encourage them to move along!