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Whitefish begins roll out of new bear-resistant garbage containers

Bear-resistant containers
Posted at 4:18 PM, Sep 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-15 18:29:24-04

WHITEFISH - The rollout has officially begun for brand new bear-resistant garbage containers in Whitefish.

In June, the Whitefish City Council approved a rate increase of roughly $6.50 a month for residents to fully equip the city with new containers.

More than 400 containers have been distributed thus far and when all is said and done, close to 4,000 will be delivered.

New 95-gallon bear-resistant garbage containers are starting to be distributed in Whitefish replacing old, beaten down, and easy to open containers.

“Residential homes, certain town homes, duplexes will receive a new container over the next couple months," said Whitefish City Manager Dana Smith.

Due to supply chain issues, Smith said the containers will come in phases, with neighborhoods experiencing the most bear activity, receiving new containers first.

“Really just trying to follow where the bears are which we often see around the lake and then down through the river,” added Smith.

Smith said the new containers are easy to use and must be brought outside the day of service no earlier than 4 a.m. and brought back inside the same day.

“A mechanical lid that the garbage truck actually can unlock, so all you have to do is make sure that you close that lid really well and that it’s not overflowing with garbage, make sure it’s latched,” said Smith.

"We live with bears and there is absolutely the risk that a human and bear could come into conflict,” added Smith.

Whitefish resident Victor Silva is happy to the city taking extra safety precautions to limit that potential danger.

“Yeah, it’s pretty good for the city to do that, it shows that they care about the community and stuff,” said Silva.

Smith said residents not using the proper containers could face a civil penalty of up to $300.

“We’ve had that in effect for many years now and that is still in effect, especially as we go through this transition,” said Smith.

The City of Whitefish advises residents to do the following:

  • Place your cart at the curb or alley the night before or by 7 a.m. on pickup day.
  • Place your cart within 2 feet of the curb.
  • Items placed outside of the cart will be charged an additional fee.
  • Do not place any items on the top of the lid, it will NOT be collected.
  • Carts placed incorrectly by the curb will NOT be collected.
  • Do NOT overfill the cart, the lid must be closed for collection.
  • Place carts so they can be opened towards the street or alley.
  • Carts must be at least 4 feet from obstacles preventing collection, including other carts.
  • Your service location is the same spot the cart was delivered to. For some, this is in the alley. For others, it is on the street.
  • The cart that is placed at your home is your responsibility, the serial number on the cart is linked to your address.