Florida’s black bear population continues to grow. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), there are an estimated 1,000 bears in South Florida living in the conservation areas of Big Cypress National Preserve and Everglades National Park.
Collier County, in consultation with the FWC, has developed ordinance language intended to allow residents to utilize bear-resistant containers. To that end, the Board of County Commissioners passed the ordinance that includes BearWise language as part of the county’s solid waste collection program.
Customers must secure their trash until set out time (6 p.m. the day before collection). The BearWise language does not require residential customers to use bear-resistant trash containers.
Bear-resistant container options
Customers who live in an area with black bears may choose to utilize a County approved bear-resistant container. The FWC has provided guidance on converting a regular container in the publication How to Make Your Refuse Container Bear Resistant and the video How to Make Your Trash Can Bear Resistant. Any containers that have been modified to prevent bear intrusion must be unsecured prior to collection time (no earlier than 6 p.m. on the day before collection).
Purchasing bear-resistant containers
In October 2018, FWC awarded Collier County Solid & Hazardous Waste Division grant funds to purchase bear-resistant containers. These containers are now available on a first come, first served basis at a subsidized cost of $115. To obtain your container, please visit Waste Management, Inc. of Florida (WMIF) at:
4500 Exchange Avenue
Naples, FL 34104
** ONLY CHECKS WILL BE ACCEPTED AND MUST BE MADE PAYABLE TO WMIF **
Any subsidized funds collected will be utilized to purchase more bear-resistant containers. Thereafter, customers may purchase the containers at the market rate from Waste Management, Inc. of Florida at the address listed above.
For more information on using a bear-resistant container in Collier County, please see the FAQs.
To learn more about black bears in the Southeast and bear safety tips, visit BearWise.