There are essentially three approaches to developing raccoon proof trash cans. The first focuses on making the trash can itself inaccessible. The second suggests making the trash can unattractive in smell. The third method is to make certain that the raccoons can’t open the lids of the can through a variety of latches, buckles and attachments to the trash can.
The first method doesn’t really raccoon proof trash cans, but it is a decent suggestion for keeping trash away from raccoons. If you have a garage or storage shed that is fairly airtight, you can lock the trash can in it. Not everyone has access to storage, and not every storage facility is unassailable by the quite intelligent raccoons. If you tend to store your garbage in a garage to which the raccoons might gain entry, you may just end up with garbage all over your garage.
In this case, you may want to employ an additional method for protecting your trash cans. Further, you will need to watch the smell of waste products stored in a garage. Garage cans tend to smell fairly awful after a while, and that smell of decomposition is likely to be like a dinner bell to raccoons.
The second option for raccoon proof trash cans is to make them smell less attractive. This may also be important especially when storing trash in a garage where raccoons might get in. Bear in mind that the goal of this method is merely to repel and not harm the animals.
Lacing the garbage can with moth balls, adding a small amount of ammonia on cloths (remember, this is dangerous to pets and people), using Lysol®, or putting hot pepper sauce around the exterior of the garbage can may all repel raccoons. They don’t like strong tastes or smells. However, if they can still knock your trash can over, they may soon discover the smells are a ruse, and all of their favorite treats are inside the can.
This means you should also try to make the garbage can less easy to knock over. If you use trash can liners, be certain these are fully tucked inside the can. Otherwise, a raccoon can easily pull on the liner and tip the can over.
Another method is to secure the lid of the can. This way, even if the raccoon can knock over the can, it can’t get to its dinner, e.g., your leftovers. In cities where one can purchase any trash can one wishes, purchasing a can that latches can be an effective way to raccoon proof trash cans. Be certain the latches are going to stay effective over time. Some loosen up as time passes.
If you must use a city issued garbage can, there are a variety of ways to secure the lid. Some people use bungee cords. Many find luck with straps or buckles that secure the lid tightly. With this method, you do need to remember to undo buckles or straps on garbage day, or else you may end up with a full can. Some cities offer buckles for sale that the city garbage workers will open. If these are available, they may prove helpful since it keeps you from running out to the curb on garbage collection days to undo the buckles.
In all cases, you need to keep up an inspection of straps, buckles or lids, to be certain they are continuing to work properly. Further, you might want to switch methods every six months or so, since raccoons are smart and might be able to learn how to undo a difficult buckle, or might chew through straps. Also be certain to inspect the can from time to time, as persistent raccoons may very well gnaw or scratch through the bottom of plastic cans after a time.