December 01, 2023 5 min read

Aspen is a gorgeous place to live. It’s also a prime bear habitat.


20-second recap: Aspen, Colorado, is one of the most beautiful places to live in the United States. The mountain views are spectacular and the skiing is among the best in the world. You know who really loves Aspen? Hikers, bikers, winter sports enthusiasts, campers, foodies...and bears. And bears really like dining on your exposed trash or leftovers. CITIBIN can help you keep bears out of your trash. If you’re in the market for bear-resistant trash enclosures, read on for your best options - especially in Aspen or other ski-friendly destinations.


citibin bear resistant

The appeal of Aspen

If you’re a fan of mountain life but could do without bears foraging through your garbage bins, you may need a garbage enclosure.

CITIBIN Founder and CEO Liz Picarazzi visited Aspen, Colorado, recently to oversee some new installations and meet with the Aspen Police about their bear issues. One of the installations was at the top of Elk Mountain at a lovely home that had bears foraging in their trash. CITIBIN installed two 4-module bear-resistant enclosures in a color that matched the home. This time around, we flew to Aspen to do the installation. We’re excited to announce that we’ve partnered with a local handyman who can receive the large steel components and install them. It makes getting a CITIBIN up in the mountains easy! 

Two 4-module standard trash enclosures in slate bamboo cladding for a home in Aspen. 

The danger of unsecured trash to both humans and bears

Unsecured residential trash bins present a danger to humans and bears for multiple reasons. Bears are natural foragers, but they aren’t always picky about what they eat. They’re also creatures of habit. If a bear doesn’t find nourishment in their natural habitats, they’ll look for food in residential areas - usually in your garbage cans. And they’ll keep coming back. While black bears are generally harmless to humans, hungry bears can be angry bears and angry or frightened bears might attack humans. And with an estimated 17,000–20,000 black bears in the state of Colorado, that could translate to a lot of angry bears. Garbage is also dangerous to bears because bears aren’t always able to determine what’s edible or not. CNN reported that a starving Colorado bear’s intestines were so blocked with garbage and undigestible food that he painfully starved for several months before being euthanized. 

Bears have an incredibly acute sense of smell and it’s estimated they can smell food from even five miles away. Aspen Police said that bears in the downtown area are experts at finding the easiest accessible trash. In one situation a brown bear foraged nightly in a downtown dumpster that was always left partially open. The dumpster was on wheels, and the bear was able to push it away from the house. Had someone come along while the bear was moving his next meal, the hungry bear could have felt provoked and attacked. 

Store trash wisely to keep bears away

Many states offer robust plans to keep bears away from your food. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game said “Keeping bears away from human food is perhaps the most important thing we can do to prevent conflicts and confrontations between bears and people.” This is critical since hundreds of foraging bears are killed nationally, with people suffering injuries when attacked by hungry bears. People are advised to keep garbage, dog food, birdseed  and anything attractive to bears sealed and secured, that includes keeping garbage and feed indoors and using secure bear-proof containers. 

While in Aspen, Liz took a close look at how trash is stored. How is it different than rat-resistant enclosures in New York City? What types of cans are used?  Where are they stored? What are the options for those in the market for a bear-resistant trash enclosure?

As much as we’re partial to CITIBINs, we know that some people might end up choosing something else. That’s why Liz came up with this helpful roundup of the best options for more secure trash enclosures for mountain life.  

Bear-Resistant Trash Enclosures - What are my options?

So how do you go about choosing the right bear-resistant garbage setup for your home? Liz divided the options into four basic categories: 

  • Bear-resistant trash carts

    You might live in the most beautiful home in Aspen and on the most stunning property in Colorado. If your trash solution involves a bunch of 65-gallon wheelie bin garbage cans lined up at the end of your property you’re likely damaging your curb appeal. You’re also probably making things infinitely more appealing to bears. While this is the cheapest option for setting out your trash, it’s probably not the best option.

  • Dumpsters
  • Not the most elegant word and certainly not the prettiest option, dumpsters are most often found at multi-family properties. And while they serve a purpose, dumpsters often don’t fully lock and end up offering a buffet for our furry friends. We’ve had clients switch from dumpsters to CITIBINs to upgrade the entire look of their property while keeping bears (and elks, and deer, and moose and other large furry mammals) out of their garbage.

  • Custom-made options
  • Now we’re getting somewhere. If you’re handy, you might consider building your own bear-resistant trash enclosure, or hiring someone to design and build one from scratch. But you’ll probably need to hire an engineer as well to ensure your custom trash bin is easy for a human to open and close your bin, but difficult for a bear to access. And not to be a party pooper, but simply adding noisy and decorative chains or paneling won’t keep bears out.

  • Not only are CITIBINs bear-resistant, but they look amazing and add value to your home. CITIBINs are also eco-friendly, built to last, and the bins of choice to thwart rats and other critters in heavy-trafficked business districts in cities including New York City, Newark, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Boston. Rats in Times Square hate CITIBIN for cutting off their all-you-can-eat buffet. And before municipal bins, CITIBIN was in the residential market for over a decade, with thousands of bins nationwide. 

    If your trash is bear-friendly, we’d love to help. CITIBINs are bear resistant and built to last through heavy use and a wide range of climates.

    Which look better? CITIBIN or the green dumpsters? 

    3 Bear safety tips and CITIBIN solutions

    Mountain life in Aspen, Colorado, is full of natural charms including beautiful vistas as far as the eye can see and a veritable playground of snow-related activities. And bears. Lots and lots of bears. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service offers extensive bear safety advice, including these three tips:

    1. Never feed, leave food for, or make food accessible to bears
    2. Store food, garbage, barbecue grills, and other attractants in locked hard-sided vehicles or bear-resistant storage boxes
    3. Instead of traditional bird feeders, set up birdhouses or birdbaths, plant native flowers, or set up hanging flower baskets for hummingbirds

    CITIBIN can help with all three. 

    • First off, if you’re expecting any delivery of food or even frozen items, make sure to keep deliveries secured and inaccessible to bears. During winter months you can also keep canned or well sealed food items outdoors in a CITIBIN Modern Storage Shed (as long as the temperatures are cold enough!).
    • While you’re at it, if you’re throwing out food, make sure that it’s impossible for bears to get to your trash. CITIBIN bear resistant trash enclosures are designed to frustrate hungry grizzlies determined to dine on your trash.
    • And finally, you can plant native flowers in a CITIBIN planter so your trash setup looks beautiful while still keeping bears away.

    Your home in Aspen, Colorado, blends the best of mountain life with local architecture. But what about your trash? CITIBIN creates beautifully designed eco-friendly trash enclosures and recycling bins. And in case you want your mail and packages to look equally stylish, CITIBIN also makes parcel drops in two sizes and planters to make your CITIBIN setup look even better. Let’s work together to create a customized CITIBIN trash and recycling station, or mail configuration for your property. 

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