There’s only one sure way to test a bear-resistant trash can, and that’s to watch a bear try to open it.
A Colorado testing facility outside of Yellowstone National Park observed a bear’s attempt to get into a bear-resistant trash can, and to the bear’s chagrin when the can truly was resistant.
“We put the bear’s favorite food inside [of the can] and it has 60 minutes of pushing, biting, and chewing,” Randy Gravatt, a testing coordinator at the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center, told ABC News of a typical product testing routine. “If they do not get in after 60 minutes and the latch is still intact, the product can be labeled ‘bear resistant.’”
Residents of Boulder Colorado are encouraged to bear-proof their garbage, making bear-resistant trash cans a popular product.
The major difference between a regular trash can and a bear-resistant one is typically a latch inside the lid that can only be released by either a single finger or a hand, something a bear claw cannot activate.
But, you can never be too sure your garbage is truly safe.
“It’s impossible to really ‘bear-proof’ something,” said Gravatt. “Give a bear 24 hours and it could get into almost anything.”