MARY ESTHER, Fla. (WKRG) — Black bear videos are constant on a northwest Florida social media feed. Waste Management customers in the area now have another option when it comes to bear sightings and security in neighborhoods.

WM is offering bear-resistant trash carts in Okaloosa County. The city of Mary Esther said WM received an order for the carts Tuesday, Aug. 9.

“On January 18, 2022 the City Council requested Waste Management to order bear resistant trash carts and make them available for purchase at-cost,” said Mary Esther city manager Jared Cobb. “This is one part of our effort to reduce human-bear conflicts. The City also distributes educational information throughout the year on our website, Facebook, and print at City Hall and the Library.”

The cans built by Totter have a lid on the top that automatically locks and unlocks for collection. Totter said the carts have a five-year warranty and have a video showing their durability to bears.

The City of Mary Esther said the carts cost $320.31. Okaloosa County residents interested can contact WM at 850-301-2822 and ask for Chris or Jennifer. 

WKRG News 5 has reached out to WM and Totter for more information about the products and availability across the region.

WM Bear Safety tips:

“We always recommend that residents put carts out on the morning of service by 7:00 am, not the night before, and store it inside so that animals cannot get to it. Removing temptation is still the best way to keep bears and other critters away from your home, family and neighbors.”

“Having a bear-resistant container is not on its own an effective way to prevent bears and other wildlife from getting into your cart. They are, after all, coming after the food scraps and food-soiled paper you throw away. Below are some bear smart tips that the state recommends you follow, whether you have standard carts or wildlife-resistant carts.”

  • Set out your carts on the day of pick up by 7:00 am, do not set them out the night before.
  • Store your carts in a sturdy shed or your garage until your collection day. Store empty carts inside as well.
  • Keep fresh meat, fish and other smelly scraps out of your trash or compost cart until your collection day. Wrap them up and store them in the refrigerator or freezer until you put your carts out for collection.
  • Double bag materials to keep down odors.
  • Control your cart’s odor by spraying it with disinfectant when necessary.

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