Wildlife Protection Regulations
Vail households with curbside trash are required to have wildlife-resistant trash containers under provisions of an ordinance approved in 2006. The regulations were enacted following incidents in which two bears were euthanized after repeated disturbances in the West Vail and East Vail neighborhoods. The requirements have been effective in reducing the number of bear encounters. For example, in 2008 there was a 42 percent reduction in bear calls compared to the previous three years with just 51 reports in 2008, compared to as many as 141 in 2005.
In requiring residential property owners to use wildlife-resistant containers, the ordinance specifically calls for use of certified plastic containers with a latching lid mechanism. Three trash removal companies that service Vail can handle orders from residential customers. Vail Honeywagon and Waste Management both offer a 95-gallon container manufactured by BearSaver. Call Vail Honeywagon at 476-3511 or Waste Management at 926-3396 for more information. Mountain Refuse also offers two container options. Call Mountain Refuse at 476-7789.
In addition, a supply of certified containers manufactured by Solid Waste Systems is being sold locally at Ace Hardware in West Vail and through Vail Honeywagon and Waste Management. The containers are available in two sizes for household use, a 95-gallon container and a 64-gallon container. Residents should verify any container purchased independently is certified through the Vail Police Department.
Once the containers are in use, the town’s ordinance requires owners to add the street address and unit number on the top or side of the can with lettering no smaller than two inches in height. A black permanent marker works best.
The ordinance also gives authorities the ability to require wildlife-proof metal containers or enclosures for households that do not otherwise have access to a secured storage area. The requirement would be imposed if the current storage arrangement becomes accessible to bears and other wildlife.
In addition, the ordinance retains the “dawn to dusk” provision which prohibits placing trash outside for pick up other than from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on the scheduled trash collection day. It also prohibits intentional or unintentional feeding of wildlife at any time through the mishandling of pet food, bird feeders and garbage. First-time offenders are subject to a municipal court summons.
Another provision of the ordinance addresses the use of garbage bags and other containers used during curbside collection. All edible refuse is required to be placed in a wildlife-resistant container. Non-edible household waste is exempt from wildlife-resistant containers. Multi-family residences using centralized containers are required to have a wildlife-proof container or a wildlife-resistant enclosure for all refuse edible by wildlife, while construction sites are required to have a wildlife-proof container. In addition, commercial establishments and restaurants are required to have wildlife-proof containers or secure edible refuse in a wildlife-resistant enclosure. Compactors are also acceptable.
For additional information, visit our FAQ page or contact your local trash hauler or the Vail Police Department at 970-479-2210.
Photo Courtesy of Colorado Division of Wildlife