Trash Disposal: Safety and Compliance

Life in bear (and moose, magpie, and raven) country requires vigilance as well as adherence to local regulations. Although summer is nearing an end, and bears will soon be heading into their annual slumber, other wildlife can still be a nuisance during the fall and winter.

HOW CAN I KEEP MY NEIGHBORHOOD FREE FROM WILDLIFE?

1) Store Trash Carts in Garages

JBER authorities have reported an increase in refuse related violations for the 2018 season, specifically in the neighborhoods that recently transitioned over to Trash Carts (or tipsters, roll carts, etc).

Trash Carts are by far the most common refuse receptacle in the Anchorage area, as when used correctly, they are the most effective means of reducing wildlife activity in a neighborhood.  Correct use of a trash cart requires that it be stored inside a garage, this reduces the chance of attracting animals and prevents them from gaining access if they do wander into a neighborhood. The fact that bears enjoy digging through trash is not a unique JBER or Aurora Military Housing phenomenon; animals like food and will seek it out when it is placed within their reach.  Our policies on trash cart storage are crafted around substantiated knowledge of animal behavior, and align directly with wildlife statutes and requirements across the state of Alaska.

Keep trash and recycling lids closed.

When placed curbside for pickup, trash cart lids must be completely closed. Birds are likely to scatter garbage in neighborhoods when they have access to garbage.

What about bear resistant trash carts?

We sometimes receive inquiries about bear resistant trash carts. Bear resistant trash carts are presently not available on JBER. The majority of Anchorage neighborhoods do not use them either. While they can help prevent wildlife from accessing trash, they do nothing if not stored correctly to address the prevailing challenge in bear country- preventing animals from being attracted to neighborhoods or other human occupied areas.  We will continue to work with installation wildlife experts to track and deploy measures to reduce wildlife activity in neighborhoods; at this time, our approach requires promotion and adherence to responsible trash cart storage.

2) Remove Bird Feeders and Gardens

Bears love bird feeders and moose love gardens. Bird Feeders are permitted in the winter months (October 30 to April 1) whilst bears are in hibernation, however they should be stowed away during the summer. Gardens can attract moose to your yard, while majestic, endearing and extraordinarily photogenic, moose can be just as dangerous as bears when protecting their young.

3) Keep Food Inside

Pet food that is stored outside can attract wildlife. So can food remaining from barbecues. The smell alone can attract animals, so maintaining an exterior area free of food and cleaning up after barbecues or picnics is another necessary step to reduce wildlife activity.

4) Report Wildlife

If aggressive or threatening wildlife is sighted in a neighborhood, it should be reported directly to JBER Security Forces at 907.552.3421. Security Forces will dispatch Conservation Law Enforcement personnel. They use a variety of techniques to track, deter, and maintain wildlife populations on the installation; reports from residents greatly assist their efforts in promoting a safe environment for all.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN MY NEIGHBORS DON’T COMPLY WITH REFUSE/RECYCLING POLICY?

Housing Tickets

Observations made by our staff in violation of state, installation,or housing policies will be addressed with a grounds ticket. These tickets are warnings and carry no monetary penalty, however failure to comply can result in escalation through your chain of command.

Fines

It is illegal to feed wildlife in the state of Alaska. Activities such as leaving trash outside, improper storage of trash, leaving pet food outside, stocking bird feeders during the summer months, dumping grease on the ground, leaving pumpkins outside, literally walking up to a moose and handing it cabbage, etc. all constitute feeding and can result in a citation.  These citations are issued by JBER Conservation Law Enforcement, either from observations made on patrol or reports from neighbors.

HOW DO I REPORT AN INFRACTION?

You may contact our office to file a formal complaint. We recommend submitting a report online (and attaching relevant photos). To do so, visit our contact form and select “Comment/Complaint”. Again, if you notice an animal in your neighborhood that is a threat, you should immediately contact Security Forces (non emergency number is 907.552.3421).

Contact Form

WHAT CONSTITUTES IMPROPER DISPOSAL?

How and where trash is permitted to be disposed of is regulated by Aurora Military Housing policy, JBER Policy, Alaska Waste Policy, as well as Local, State, and Federal Regulations. Examples of improper disposal that could result in formal charges or citation include (but are not limited to):

  • Dumping of personal or household waste in dumpsters on JBER. Unless specified for public use, disposing of trash in any dumpster is illegal. (This includes the bargain shop, the commissary, AMH owned dumpsters, CE owned dumpsters, government dumpsters, private business dumpsters, etc).
  • Dumping of personal or household waste in common areas, woods, roadways, lakes, rivers, etc. (Thankfully, this doesn’t seem to be a trend on JBER).
  • Disposal of regulated or hazardous items through conventional trash services (or illegal dumping).  Items including (but not limited to) TVs, computer monitors, animal carcasses (including dead pets), hazardous chemicals, ammunition/explosives, batteries, tires, used oil, gasoline, etc have specific disposal requirements. For a full list, as well as resources for disposal, you can view the Municipality of Anchorage’s list here. Note that many of these items may be disposed of by utilizing our bulky item pickup service, which allows you 2 free pickups every 12 months.

Examples of improper disposal that could result in AMH tickets, fines, decrease community quality of life, or cause an interruption in services:

  • Placement of trash (or non-recyclable items) in recycling tipsters. Recycling is expensive in Alaska, which is why many housing providers in the area do not provide it. We do, so please use it properly! If you place household waste in your recycling container, it will not be picked up. Fortunately, this somewhat common occurrence has been on the decline as of late.
  • Leaving dog poop on the ground. It’s just gross.
  • Storing unsightly “junk” outside or in your garage. Between yard sales, the bargain/thrift shops, and our bulky item pickup service, there are multiple ways on JBER to get rid of things that you longer need or use.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game- “Living in Harmony with Bears and Food”
Alaska Dispatch News- “Here are strategies for staying safe in bear country”
Aurora Military Housing- “Curbside Recycling Program”