cheap free frugality hacks pests recycling trade-offs

FREE: Keeping Raccoons out of the recycling, 7 years and 4 tries later

For two parts at the dollar store, you can secure your green recycling bin, even outside!

This solution is no longer needed in Toronto (the new bins are ‘mostly‘ raccoon-proof), but if you need varmint-proofing, here you go.  The same solution can be applied to the new bin handles if you have the rascally raccoon in the above video.

Back in (gulp) 2008, I posted a simple design to keep raccoons out of the garbage and green bin.  The design worked, I got some nice comments, and even a possible CBC TV spot on the design (which didn’t pan out, but it was nice to be asked).

raccoon closeup
Do you have ‘little visitors’ like this guy who came sniffing around my green bin?

That said, having now had several years of experience with my inexpensive design, and a worthy commercial solution, these designs are far from perfect.

So…back to the drawing board.  The single biggest problem with my earlier design, found here, is that it is highly subject to user error…which is to say that it gets left open…frequently.  The commercial solution has this problem as well, and is hard to find, and its straps are subject to UV hardening and weakening, so it, too, failed in time.

So I started over again.  The revised solution is cheaper, easier to open and secure with one hand, visually apparent, and has yet to be breached by the raccoons.  It requires two parts: a bungee cord with a ball-end, something like this, also readily available at your local dollar store, and a coated cup hook. The cup hooks are also available at the dollar store.

cup hooks
Cup hooks, also known as utility hooks
Installed: bungee and cup hook

Loop the bungee around the bail of the green bin, and drive the cup hook into the body of the green bin so that when the ball-end of the bungee is stretched and a little taut, it fits on the cup hook. As the bungee ages, tie a knot in it to make it tighter, and then replace (yearly).

That’s it.  So far, not one raccoon break-in, easy to see if it’s closed from a distance, and even cheaper than my previous solution.

Supplemental to this solution (for the ‘advanced student’): I also put a ‘tool hook’ on the back of our garbage bin, and hang the green bin there. The raccoons occasionally knock the green bin off the hooks, so I need to figure out a solution for that…the battle continues.

Happy raccoon season.


And in the news, it seems this is working, so the raccoons are commuting!

racoon raccoon coon recycling toronto ontario

By Dak

Father, leader, writer, scientist, visionary.

Technical software development leader (CTO, VP). Excels when improving and turning around teams, putting better tools and software architectures in place, and getting better outcomes.

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