Today’s burning question is about bear-proof trash cans in Henderson County. Have other questions for our staff? Email Executive Editor Karen Chávez at [email protected] and your question could appear in an upcoming column.

Question: Does Henderson County offer bear-proof trash cans? I’ve only seen them offered in Asheville and Buncombe County. Is there a place to get them in Henderson County?

Answer: Many municipalities in Henderson County offer their own sanitation services, including Hendersonville, the largest city in the county.

According to city of Hendersonville spokesperson Allison Justus, bear-proof trash cans are not offered by the city. In fact, residents must use the trash carts provided by the Public Works department.

“We require the use of city-provided carts so that they are easily identified as customers and to assist in the regulation of the volume of trash that is collected,” Justus said.

She said the city does not provide bear-proof cans and has not had a “large issue” with bears getting into trash cans.

According to the city of Hendersonville website, two sizes of regular non-bear-proof trash carts are available: a 96-gallon cart and a 32-gallon cart. The monthly cost of the 96-gallon cart is $25 while the monthly cost for the 32-gallon cart is $23.

In these carts, all trash must be bagged in trash bags of at least 0.75 mil thickness. The tops of the bags must be tied and placed in the carts provided by the city no later than 7 a.m. on scheduled collection day.

Henderson County offers a transfer station for waste disposal and a convenience center for recycling. Both open at 7 a.m. and close at 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Both are also closed occasionally for holidays. The closure schedule can be found on the Henderson County website.

Reader, you mentioned that Asheville offers bear-proof trash cans, which the city does do. In fact, according to previous Citizen Times reporting, the city of Asheville purchased 680 bear-resistant trash carts this year. This cost the city $220,000.

According to the Citizen Times reporting, there were 1,359 bear-resistant carts in use in Asheville in April.

Asheville began providing bear-resistant trash containers in 2021 and currently has a waiting list city residents can join to receive a cart. The carts are available on a first come, first-served basis. There is a limit of two bear-resistant carts per household.

According to the city of Asheville’s sign-up form for the carts, they are 95 gallons, which is the same size as the regular trash carts. However, the carts do weigh approximately 10 pounds more than the regular carts, coming in at 45 pounds. There is also a $10 per month upcharge for bear-resistant trash carts.

The form said the bear-resistant carts are “fully automated” in that they stay locked when the lid is closed. The carts open when they are emptied by the truck. Residents will “require some manual dexterity” to open the latch on the carts to use them.

The city of Asheville’s bear-resistant carts can only be used for trash, not recycling or yard waste.

If a city of Asheville resident purchases their own bear-resistant cart, it must be approved and registered with the sanitation division to ensure it will function with the city’s collection system.

BearWise, a program that works to teach people about how to live with bears safely, has a few tips:

  • Do not feed or approach bears.

  • Secure garbage, recycling and food.

  • Remove bird feeders when bears are active in the area.

  • Do not leave pet food outdoors.

  • Clean grills and store in them in a protected area.

  • Alert neighbors to any bear activity.

Karrigan Monk is the reporter for Black Mountain News and Hendersonville Times-News, part of the USA TODAY Network. Reach her at [email protected].

This article originally appeared on Asheville Citizen Times: Answer Woman: Bear-proof trash cans in Hendersonville, Asheville?

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