Gatlinburg to install high-tech bear-proof garbage cans

Local News

Say goodbye to old garbage cans in downtown Gatlinburg. The city will soon get new high-tech bear-proof cans.

The 22 new trash units will replace 47 of their open-top containers. City leaders say the new bins will be the equivalent of about 100 trash cans since they can hold four to five times more trash.

There are already a few high-tech bins along the Parkway because the city purchased them four years ago.

“Well these units, they compact the trash. They’re solar powered,” said Larry Henderson, Gatlinburg’s public services director.

Henderson says the 22 new units should help with traffic congestion, as they will cut down on the number of times crews will have to stop and empty bins. The bins can send alerts directly to their phones.

“So if you have a unit that is full, it will notify him electronically that the unit is full. If it’s completely full, it will go into automatic lockdown mode so it can’t be overloaded. And the sanitation department can also go straight directly to the trash receptacle they need to empty,” added Henderson.

With less open-top trash cans, city leaders believe it will help prevent the luring of bears down onto the Parkway. The new garbage cans are animal, rodent and insect proof.

“So we shouldn’t have any problems in the future with bears getting into the open-top trash can containers,” said Henderson.

That’s the biggest bonus visitors like the Smith family see since so many want to keep our bears wild.

“I can see where it would make sense and the food that they’re getting, let’s face it, it’s not good for them either. So keeping them into eating in their natural habitat rather than outside of Bubba Gump Shrimp,” said Malisa Smith of West Virginia.

The new high-tech garbage cans should be delivered in late September and installed by early October. The company which owns the cans, Bigbelly Solar, only leases their bins, so Gatlinburg has signed a five-year lease agreement.

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