MONTPELIER — With food scraps banned from landfills, the state wants people to know how to compost their food waste without attracting bears.
“We have been receiving lots of reports of bears on decks, tearing down bird feeders, wrecking beehives, killing chickens, and getting into trash, compost and garbage containers,” said Forrest Hammond, bear biologist with the Fish and Wildlife Department. “Some folks will be new at composting food waste at home, so we are offering some guidance on how to do that without providing additional attractants for the bears.”
Mainly, people should keep their bird feeders in until there’s a foot of snow on the ground in December, stated Hammond in a release.
“Then, make sure anything else that might smell like food is picked up,” he stated. “And keep your trash container secured inside a sturdy building and don’t put it outside until the morning of pickup. Beehives, chicken coops and compost bins can be protected with electric fencing.”
Hammond said people can call their local solid waste district or visit 802recycles.com to find the places to take their food scraps in town. They can also ask their trash hauler if they pick up scraps.
Those who wish to compost their food scraps should have three parts “brown material” to one part “green material.” Brown material is dried leaves, wood chips, and similar yard debris while green material is food scraps. Doing this speeds the compost process and cuts down the odor. Composting meat and bones isn’t recommended.
Turning the material over regularly helps cut down the odor. Hammond also recommends keeping the stuff in a container that would be hard for a bear to break into. Electric fencing can also be used.
More information on composting can be found at VTrecycles.com