What is the best way to keep raccoons out of a dumpster?
At work we have a simple, split lid, top load dumpster like this one:
And we have a pretty large population of raccoons that seem to be pretty inventive when it comes to getting inside of it and pulling trash and food out.
The waste management company we use wont allow us to modify the dumpster. They own it and more or less rent it to us.
We've tried a few ways of "tying" the lid shut, but the raccoons will reach a hand between the two lids and pull out what ever they can, they also tend to chew on what ever we use to tie them down with, so strapping the lid shut doesn't work very well and the straps don't last long.
I've heard we could use cougar urine as a deterrent, but it rains fairly often where we are and handling urine on a regular basis is a little unappealing.
This should go without saying, but I'm also not looking to kill or otherwise harm the animals.
So, I'm trying to find a good way to keep the animals out, while still allowing us easy access, without modifying the rented dumpster or harming the wildlife... Any thoughts?
Here's what I ended up building to keep the raccoons out:
Basically I took a 2"x2"x4' length of wood and attached two boards about 8"x4' to the top and bottom, making a sort of "I-beam" and then fixed a 2"x4"x6' to the top board.
To put it on the dumpster you just position the I-beam between the two lids and slide the bottom board of the I-beam under the lids, so that you end up with the 2x2 between the lids and a board above the lids and a board below the lids. Then you just slide it all the way back till the cross beam is over the two lids.
This eliminates the gap between the two lids and still allows the lids to be opened, but as one one large lid rather than two small ones.
With the two lids now moving as one piece the raccoons can't open it because they can't lift the lid while standing on top of it and they can't reach the lid from the ground.
It's working well so far, although the raccoons haven't given up yet...
I'll snap some photo's of the finished piece and add them here when I get a chance.
If you can't modify the dumpster, perhaps you can modify the area around it? With some ingenuity and planning you could build a frame that is easily removable for day use, and pickup, but at night becomes a locking mechanism around the receptacle.
By using a 4x4 post, which is quite heavy, and laying it across the top of the covers, it would eliminate the critters ease of lifting the arm and getting into the dumpster. if you can manage to "lock" it into place with side walls, then you eliminate their ability to move it. If it doesn't move, and isn't easily lifted, they may give up and move on to the neighbors waste area.
We never throw organic material away. We put a little effort into sorting the waste, and we end up with very little actual garbage, nothing that would attract animals as edible food. 85% is usable or recyclable. The organic material is heaped into our compost pile or buried.
If you must put the organic matter into the dumpster, douse it with some fluid that would destroy the scent and/or make it unusable as food.
Another option is to use a Have a Heart trap. Set a few next to the dumpster, or away form the dumpster and put peanut butter as bait. Just take the trap with the live raccoon and release to a suitable ecosystem more than 3 miles away.
Also, the waste management company should be obligated to provide you with a tamper-proof dumpster. Check with your township.