Small Business & Startups and Sustainability

Startup specializes in cleaning trash bins

February 26, 2018
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eco-190 bin cleaning
Courtesy eco-190°

A West Michigan business is hoping to clean up on dirty trash bins.

Eco-190°, a trash bin washing company started in November, claims to be the first of its kind in the state.

“We go onsite and we have a cleaning trailer that cleans with two high-pressure, high-temperature pressure heads,” said Tom Folkerts, founder, eco-190°. “The high-temperature water is over 190 degrees, so it kills all the harmful bacteria that grow inside and outside dumpsters or bins.”

Folkerts said eco-190° does not use disinfectants to eliminate the stench often left behind in a trash bin after the trash is removed, relying instead on the high-pressure water.

The used water is then filtered through a recovery tank on the trailer and disposed of at the company’s Wayland location.

Eco-190° serves both residential and commercial customers and the trash bins must be between two yards and eight yards in size.

Folkerts said the idea came about when he and his family moved into a condominium, and within six weeks the garage started smelling like the trash bins outside. He said he started doing research and found the idea of pressure washing trash bins originated in Australia and the United Kingdom, but was only recently being used in a handful of states like California and Arizona.

Luke Folkerts, Tom’s son, does a majority of the washing.

“The associations at the end of the day are required to bring their garbage containers inside the garage,” Luke Folkerts said. “So that’s where (a lot of) our business comes from.”

Tom Folkerts said many people aren’t even aware of the odor until the summer months. “When it heats up, it gets bad,” he said.

In addition to the trash containers, Folkerts said the firm also cleans cement pads, sidewalks and driveways.

Luke Folkerts said theirs is the only business of its type in West Michigan.

“Our closest competitor is in North Carolina,” he said.

Tom Folkerts said he believes the service will catch on.

“It’s just a nasty job to do,” he said. “It’s not a fun job. People take an hour to an hour and a half to do it on a Saturday and we come in there in less than 30 seconds and it is clean.”

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