Best Garbage Trash Can To Keep Out Squirrels and Raccoons

Ever since my son and daughter-in-love moved into their home several years ago, they’ve been in an ongoing, full-scale battle to keep the critters with whom they share their yard, out of their trash cans. Regular trash cans didn’t even slow down the raccoons who visited their home and their neighbor’s homes every single night. It’s not a great way to start the day–walking out the door dressed up nicely for work, only to find trash strewn all across the driveway.

Raccoon Eating From Backyard Bird Feeder


I had two trash cans with locking handles that I was no longer using since the company that picks up my trash provided a super large can. They were still in excellent condition and they worked great for keeping out the raccoons, but recently the issue has been the squirrels! The squirrels that frequent their yard have literally chewed right through the lids in multiple places My son opened a can one day to find a surprised squirrel staring up at him. lol


The squirrels also chewed holes through another raccoon-proof style can my son was using that came with lids that screwed on. If it’s not the raccoons, it’s the squirrels! Argggh! We were talking about this issue a few days ago after I awoke to find trash pulled out and strewn across the driveway. My dil mentioned that their neighbor next door had purchased metal trash cans and that seemed to work.


Yesterday, on my way back after running an errand, I picked up two galvanized steel cans from the local Ace Hardware. The lids fit down tightly onto the cans so I’m hoping they will be raccoon-proof. They definitely should be squirrel proof, or at least that has been the neighbor’s experience. If the raccoons return and are able to get the lids off, or if the lids loosen with use over time, I found some cool-looking locking straps online here: Trash Can Locks. Last night was their first night in use. My dil put a bag with chicken pieces inside one of the cans as a test and so far, so good!


I love the retro style of these cans; I even like how they sound when you open and close them. I actually have one like this in my garage near my potting bench, but never thought of it as the solution for the squirrels and raccoons until my dil mentioned it seemed to be working for the neighbors. It will be so ironic if this old-school trash can turns out to be the solution to this multi-year, never-ending battle to keep the raccoons and squirrels out of the garbage!


Have you ever had this issue and if so, how did you overcome it? Would love to hear what you’ve tried and what worked. I’m hoping these steel cans will be the solution but I would love your suggestions and what you have found works to keep the critters out.

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Author: Andy Edwards