Keeping Raccoons Away From Food Manufacturing Dumpsters

If you own or manage a food manufacturing plant, then you likely have some food product waste that needs to be tossed out at the end of the day. Depending on your waste collection needs, this generally means a dumpster must be utilized to get rid of the trash. Unfortunately, placing food items in such a large collection bin can create an environment where pests tend to gather. These pests may include raccoons. Raccoons will not only make a mess of a dumpster in a quick manner, but they may also carry diseases, like rabies, leptospirosis, giardiasis, and raccoon roundworm that can harm your employees. Raccoons can easily get stuck in a dumpster as well and scare an unsuspecting employee. This means you should strive to keep away raccoons, and the following tips will help.

Mask Food Odors

Raccoons are omnivores, and this means they will eat a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, meat, and grains. In fact, raccoons are known to eat almost any type of food that is available to them. Unlike other animals, raccoons also do not have a specific food type that will attract them. While the animals do prefer nuts, fruit, and sweets, the animals are much more concerned about an abundant food source than the type of food that is available to them. Abundant food sources mean that raccoons can eat throughout the warmer months. This allows them to build up fat that can be used during the winter when food is scarce. 

Raccoons will return to an area over and over again if they know that food is available. The key to keeping raccoons away from your dumpsters is to prevent them from recognizing that food is available inside of them in the first place. This means making sure that your garbage does not release odors into the air. The first step is to bag food properly. You should buy thick garbage bags that will not rip as refuse is placed inside of them. You should go with strong, high density bags. These garbage bags can be quite thick. Thicknesses typically range from 6 to 22 microns. Look for bags that are somewhere in the middle of this range, since food is not likely to be that heavy. 

If possible, purchase garbage bags that have smart closures. These bags have four separate tabs on the top that can be tied together to create a secure seal. Once the bags are closed properly, place them in the dumpster. You should also place a raccoon repellent outside the dumpster. This will help to mask any food odors that release from the container. Raccoons do not like vinegar or ammonia. Wet several rags with either of these fluids and place them underneath the dumpster. Cayenne pepper can also drive raccoons away, so think about sprinkling it around the dumpster. 

If possible, also make sure to rent a dumpster that has a solid lid. Many dumpsters are made with lids made out of high-impact plastic. These lids are often lightweight for easy access. However, this means that a raccoon may be able to open the lid as well. Speak with your dumpster rental company about solid steel lids instead. 

Reduce Access

Another good way to keep raccoons away is to make sure that they are unable to access the dumpster. This means that they will not be able to retrieve food items, even if they do detect them inside. Raccoons are extremely adaptable animals that are able to lift dumpster lids and release simple latches. This means that some dumpster closures will not keep raccoons away. While raccoons have five fingers on each hand to help them pry things open, they do not have thumbs. This makes it incredibly difficult for the animals to maneuver certain types of closures as easily as a human can. This is true of sliding barrel locks. Pressure release and simple slide and latch varieties are both raccoon-proof. 

Place one or two of these locks on the lid of the dumpster and secure them at all times. You may need the most security at night when raccoons typically scavenge for food. However, raccoons will come out during the day if they know that there is an abundant food source available to them.

Instead of installing a lock, you can also ask the rental company to supply a rented dumpster with a lock already installed on it. One of these installed locks is called an automatic dumpster lock. This device secures to the lid and front of the dumpster. A slot on the lock allows you to add your own padlock. This secures the dumpster completely while it is on the ground. When the dumpster is tipped up and over the garbage truck during the emptying process, the lock pops open automatically. This helps to keep your dumpster secure from raccoons and other pests, but you will not need to deal with the hassle of releasing the lock when the garbage truck arrives. 

For more information and options, talk with a dumpster company, such as Parks & Sons of Sun City, Inc., about different raccoon-proofing ideas.