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State offers tips on how to compost without attracting bears

July 10, 2021 GMT

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — With Vermont’s food scrap ban in effect and more people reporting having problems with bears, the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department is offering tips on how to compost at home without attracting the animals.

“We have been receiving lots of reports of bears on decks, tearing down bird feeders, wrecking beehives, killing chickens, and getting into trash, compost and garbage containers,” bear biologist Forrest Hammond said in a statement.

Bird feeders need to be taken down until there’s at least a foot of snow in December and trash containers need to be secured inside a sturdy building, he said. Beehives, chicken coops and compost bins can be protected with electric fencing, he said. If bears are active in a person’s neigbhorhood, taking food scraps to a drop-off station is the best way to avoid attracting them, he said.

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For composting, the department says to:

— Use three parts of brown material such as dried leaves or yard debris, wood chips or shredded paper for one part of green material, which include include kitchen scraps, vegetables and small amounts of fruits, he said. Adding lots of brown material minimizes smells and speeds up composting, he said.

— Keep meat, bones, or seafood leftovers out of compost. The food scrap ban allows people to dispose of such scraps in the trash.

— Frequently mix or turn over compost to give it oxygen to reduce odor and speed up composting.

— Enclose the composter with electric fencing or compost in a hard durable container with a lid. Some are bear-proof.