Trash haulers stocked and ready to go
Steamboat Springs — Local trash haulers are stocked up with bear-resistant trash cans. Now, they are hoping customers will buy or rent them.
In May, Waste Management, Steamboat’s largest trash hauler, began renting cans for $10 per month.
“I think the response has been a little bit slower than we anticipated,” Waste Management spokeswoman Jennifer Rivera said. “We know it’s important to the community.”
Waste Management originally stocked up with 90 cans. As of Thursday, only 10 had been rented.
Waste Management has additional stockpiles of cans in other mountain communities.
“If every single customer wanted one, we would have one,” Rivera said.
Ace’s High owner Steve Weinland said his company bought a stock of 50 cans, and 35 customers have purchased them for $244 each. That is what Ace’s High pays for the cans.
“I’m not trying to make any money off this deal at all,” Weinland said.
He said the sale of cans has been slow, but he noted his customers and drivers have not had to deal with a lot of bear issues.
“The bears don’t seem to be as active this year,” Weinland said.
He said they did have one issue with trash on Steamboat Boulevard, but a bear was not to blame.
“We found that was a big old German shepherd dog,” Weinland said.
Routt County’s third trash hauler, Twin Enviro, has been selling bear-resistant cans for $225. That is also what Twin Enviro pays for the cans.
“We’ve sold quite a few in the past months,” customer service manager Amber Solomon said. “It’s just kind of hit-or-miss.”
Solomon said they have had to send back one of the cans under warranty. A bear wedged the can against a tree and punctured the side.
“The lids are bear-proof,” Solomon said.
Local welding entrepreneur Rollin Stone has partnered with Ace’s High to offer a lower cost option.
For $180, Stone will install a retrofit on the Ace’s High cans that has been certified as bear-resistant by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee.
Stone said he has sold seven of the retrofits.
“It’s just starting to fire up,” Stone said. “People are picking them up.”
Stone said he has also been getting calls from people who want him to do other bear-resistant projects.
“Everyone in town is calling me the bear guy now,” Stone said.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife officer Andrea Sponseller said she is hopeful more people will buy or rent the bear-resistant cans. She especially wants the cans in Steamboat’s mobile home parks, which are notorious for bear problems.
Sponseller said it has been a typical year dealing with nuisance bears. More problems occur in the spring and fall, she said.
She hopes a good berry crop will keep more bears from coming down from the mountains in search of an easy meal.
“I think my major concern is trying to continue the conversation about certified cans,” Sponseller said. “The city has definitely been helpful in stepping up with the trash issue.”
Waste Management can be contacted at 970-879-2400.
Twin Enviro can be contacted at 970-879-6985.
Ace’s High can be contacted at 970-870-6500.
Stone can be contacted at 970-397-1880.
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