bear proofing compost bins

5 Smart Tips To Bear-Proof Your Compost Bin

If you live in bear country, then you know that composting can be a little tricky. It’s important to take precautions to make sure that your green bin is safe from bears, who are known for their love of all things organic. In this blog post, we will discuss some tips for keeping your compost bin safe from bears. Stay safe and keep those scraps out of the landfill!

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No compost bin is completely bear-proof. A determined bear will nearly always figure out how to claw it’s way into your compost bin, even if it’s sealed. Because of that, it’s important to take some preventative measures to make your bin less appealing to bears.


The main way that bears are attracted to your compost pile is through their noses. Therefore, the best way to keep them away is not by having a heavy-duty compost bin, but to limit odors as much as possible.

  • Use a closed compost bin: This is a good idea, not because they’re impossible for a bear to break into, but because it’s an easy way to keep any pungent smells from escaping.
  • Bury your scraps: Bears are able to dig, but if you bury your scraps a few inches below the surface, it will help to mask any odors enough to keep bears from getting interested.
  • Avoid adding meat, bones or dairy: These waste items are particularly likely to attract bears to your compost. Unless, of course, you’ve used the Bokashi method on them first.
  • Use lots of carbons: Adding leaves, sticks, and other carbon-rich materials to your compost pile is always a good idea, but throwing a layer of these on each time you add kitchen scraps to your pile will also help contain odors, and thus deter bears that would otherwise be attracted to the smell of kitchen scraps.


We know that we need to contain the compost smell to keep bears away, but there are some smells that we can add to our pile to help mask any potential scents, as well as smells that bears do not like and will be repelled by.


Interestingly, even though they live in wooded areas, bears really hate the smell of pine. If you have a pine tree nearby, try scattering some needles around your compost bin to help keep the bears away. You could also make a DIY spray using pine essential oil, and spray it around your property to deter bears.

Some people also recommend using Pinesol, but be aware that this product contains artificial fragrance and chemicals that may be harmful to you as well as the environment.


Ammonia is another scent that bears hate, so you can try soaking a few rags in the liquid and tying them in various places around your yard and near your compost pile. Some suggest that adding ammonia directly to your compost pile can be beneficial for other reasons, but do so with caution!

Black Pepper Extract

This is a more natural way to keep bears away from your compost bin. Simply spraying a little black pepper extract on the periphery of your bin will help to ward them off. This is also known as piperine, so look for that ingredient on the label when you go to the store!


Electric fence

If you’re really concerned about bears getting into your compost bin, an electric fence may be a good investment. Place it around the perimeter of your yard, or even just right around your compost pile.

Again, a determined bear may continue to try to break into your compost pile even if it’s getting shocked. But if you’ve taken other precautionary measures such as avoiding odors, then an electric fence is a good secondary safety measure.

Motion lights and alarms

Bears tend to be a bit skittish, so installing motion-activated lights near your compost bin can be a helpful strategy to scare them away. Combine that with a loud alarm set to go off at the same time, and no bear is going to want to hang around long enough to dig in to your compost pile.

Remove other sources of food

Compost may not be the only thing attracting bears to your yard. Make sure to remove any other food sources that may be attracting them, such as bird feeders, pet food bowls, or fruit trees.


Composting is fun, great for the environment, and the finished product is a wonderful soil amendment for your garden. But it is important to take the necessary precautions when composting in bear country. By following these tips, you can keep your green bin safe from bears and ensure that your composting experience is a positive one.

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