Placer bear box program wins national award

Published on August 03, 2016

National awards aren’t among the simple bear necessities, but our Bear Box Loan Program campaign is honored to score one anyway.

Placer County’s Department of Public Works and Facilities is taking home the Solid Waste Association of North America’s Bronze Excellence Award in the Communication, Education and Marketing Awareness Campaign category for its Bear Box Loan Program campaign.

The Excellence Awards recognize outstanding waste programs and will be presented at WASTECON, SWANA’s annual conference, being held this month in Indiana.

Locals say ‘a fed bear is a dead bear’ because those that habitually get into garbage are viewed as a threat to people and their property, and as a result are typically euthanized - following the guidelines of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

County code requires installation of bear boxes on properties above 5,000 feet in elevation when permitting new residential construction or additions over 500 square feet. However, in eastern Placer County, approximately 5,400 existing residents still do not have bear boxes, which leads to bears and other wildlife disturbing unprotected garbage.

As these metal enclosures can be expensive, DPWF’s Bear Box Loan Program is aimed at filling the gap and making it easier for those homeowners without bear boxes to finance and install one. The program offers five-year, interest-free loans that would be repaid through $22 per month surcharges on quarterly bills.

“Bear boxes protect bears and us, and we’re on a mission to make sure everyone has the ability to get one,” said Kevin Bell, Placer County environment engineering manager. “This recognition really reflects the energy we’ve put into getting the word out.”

Tahoe Truckee Sierra Disposal administers the loan program and ensures that enclosures are properly installed by approved, licensed contractors.

For more information on the program, call Tahoe Truckee Sierra Disposal at 530-583-7800.