Trash ordinance takes effect Sunday

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— The city is taking measures to make sure bears and other animals don't get hooked on scavenging through garbage for food every summer.

The Steamboat Springs City Council passed an ordinance on second reading last week that will require residents and businesses to attach special closures to their refuse containers if they leave garbage out at night. Bird feeders will also have to be suspended from a cable during the spring and summer months. The city hopes to dissuade animals from coming into Steamboat to forage on the garbage previously left in easily-breached containers.

The ordinance will go into effect Sunday, but the city will give people with trash cans time to get them retrofitted before enforcing the ordinance, City Manager Paul Hughes said. Because Waste Management needs time to retrofit the containers, the city will give some residents up to six months to get their containers fitted with the closures, Hughes said.

The city will also work with a public education company to place stickers on the containers explaining the risks of leaving garbage out.

People who leave their trash out in paper bags or other such containers will have to find a more secure way to throw out garbage.

If people bring their trash out on the morning of trash day they will not have to fit their receptacles with special closures.

Everyone else will have to make individual arrangements with Waste Management to get their cans fitted with animal-proof locks.

Dumpsters will require reinforced lids with locking bars placed over the lids. Ernie DeCasper of Waste Management said the company will have to pass the cost onto consumers, probably in the form of a one-time payment. Many residents rent bins from the company, though others take out their trash in other ways and pay Waste Management to pick it up.

About 3,000 households use the Waste Management service in Steamboat and the company services about 500 dumpsters, he said.

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