Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - Have you ever seen a bear attack a garbage can in broad daylight?

That is the question asked by Grizzly Disposal general manager Billy Fisher on Tuesday as he spoke to KGVO News about the new ‘bear resistant’ trash containers recently mandated by both city and county governments.

Back to that question in a moment.

Bear Resistant Trash Containers are Expensive

But first, Fisher told KGVO about the new bear-resistant containers that are on order for hundreds of customers in Missoula, and how much they’ll cost.

“In our price structure it adds 10 bucks a month,” began Fisher. “The carts in comparison? A regular cart is about 60 bucks, and a bear cart is about 300 bucks so you can kind of see the difference in what the costs are. But to our customers, it's just another $10 a month. We buy the cart, and then charge them for the usage of it.”

Fisher said demand is high right now for the bear-resistant carts, and they’re waiting on availability.

Get our free mobile app

There is a Huge Demand for Bear Resistant Containers Throughout the West

“The thing I'm worried about is the extent of the people that are in bear buffer zones,” he said. “They're actually hard to come by in that the purchasing lead time is quite lengthy in some cases. So yeah, we're going to have to make this investment and go out there and try to purchase these things so we're not falling behind on the needs of the community.”

Fisher then brought up an obvious question. Why are the bear-resistant carts necessary in the first place?

Because almost all customers roll their carts out at night so that the trash can be picked up early in the morning, and bear activity is highest in the overnight hours.

“The biggest deal is people putting their trash out at night, and how do we eliminate that?” he asked. “I think it's a lot bigger deal than they put emphasis on. So, like I said, we're just saying you got to get up between four and five in the morning, you're not going to get up, and put your garbage out (at that time). I mean, let's get real. If you have to get up at 7:00 p.m. or 7:15 p.m., a lot of people will do it. So I think that's a bigger problem than the bear-proof container itself.”

Grizzly Disposal says they Abide by the City's Noise Ordinance

Fisher said the city noise ordinance prohibits their trucks from operating after 7:00 p.m. and before 7:00 a.m.

“I think a lot of that can be alleviated by just adhering to the city-county ordinance,” he said. “We've been trying to push that it is it is harder and it's slower on the routes. There are things you have to do because there's a lot more traffic, I get it, but those rules are in place for a reason. This is one of the biggest reasons why we’re going to do whatever we can to help this problem. We're going to get bear-proof containers like the county asked us for dang sure. But like I said, a lot of this problem is from people putting up the trash in and having it sitting out there overnight.”

According to the City of Missoula website:

  1. It is unlawful to accumulate or store garbage that is attractant to bears within the Bear Buffer Zone in any manner that allows bears access. For the purpose of this chapter, garbage is also defined as any other human-generated waste that attracts bears, not to include roadkill or windfall fruit. Except as provided in B. through D. below, bear attractant garbage shall be secured in a bear-resistant container or enclosure. B. Persons may, as an alternative to A. above, place non-bear-resistant garbage containers containing bear attractants at the curb, alley, or public right-of-way only after 5:00 a.m. on the morning of waste pickup. After waste pickup, the non-bear-resistant garbage container that previously held bear attractants must be re-secured and stored inside an enclosed building or inside a bear-resistant enclosure by 9:00 pm on the day of waste pickup.

 Find the noise level parameters below.

This reporter puts his trash out late Wednesday for pickup by Republic Services at about 5:00 a.m. on Thursday, which (according to the statute) violates the city's noise ordinance.

LOOK: Highest-paying jobs in Missoula

Stacker compiled the highest paying jobs in Missoula, MT using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Gallery Credit: Stacker

More From Newstalk KGVO 1290 AM & 98.3 FM