Haymarket moms launch business cleaning trash bins

Lynne Triggs and Merv Olds created Remarkably Clean Bins to address a problem they noticed in their Haymarket community.

There are many household chores that homeowners find less than desirable. Cleaning the bathroom might be the first that comes to mind, or maybe it’s taking out the trash. Oh yes, trash disposal. That’s the worst.

Leave it to two moms to figure out a way to take a household need and turn it into a thriving business.  Haymarket residents Lynne Triggs and Merv Olds met on the sidelines watching their sons play basketball. During one of their many conversations the topic turned to household chores and which ones quite literally stunk the most. Naturally it was trash and the recycling bins, and the smell that accumulated from them.  

According to Triggs, a Scotland native, those in the United Kingdom separate trash into four bins that are collected and professionally cleaned on a weekly basis.  There’s trash, recycling, yard waste and food waste. The reason for the strict cleaning regimen is that homes are closer together with smaller yards and there’s just no room for it. Consequently, it’s necessary to keep trash separated and out of unwanted areas, including the bins.

And while western Prince William County homes tend to have large yards, whether it’s due to association rules or to keep the Bull Run Mountain critters out of them, many residents keep trash and recycling bins in their garages until pick up day.  And any resident knows that the resulting odor can knock your socks off.

Both women had tried cleaning their bins themselves, and even paying their kids to do it, to no avail.   One of Triggs’ sons even said he’d rather be grounded than wash the trash bin. A teenager choosing punishment over money – what does that tell you? Despite both women’s and Merv’s best efforts – buying the best bags, triple tying them, doubling them – the results were still the same: a smelly mess.

Now Triggs and her husband, John, own a successful carpet and upholstery cleaning business and have a real handle on the field. Olds and her husband, Gary, have worked in project management and customer service, and have those areas down cold. So, when the Triggs approached the Olds about turning trash bin cleaning into a business, it was kismet. The Olds were interested in owning a business, neither woman had been able to bribe her kids to clean the bins, and so Remarkably Clean Bins was born.

In their research, the four learned that the bleach and other chemicals homeowners typically use to clean their trash bins end up in sewers or on the lawn, posing health risks to people and the environment. If they could figure out how to do it without causing such damage, the new business would be more than a smart entrepreneurial move – it would be the chance to leave a legacy of sound environmental practices for their children.

With that motivation in mind, they persisted, ultimately finding a man in Florida who would build them a custom truck that uses 180-degree water mixed with a biodegradable cleaning solution that kills bacteria lingering in the bins and prevents the runoff from going into waterways and yards.

It’s that truck, or one exactly like it, that now serves Remarkably Clean Bins’ 1,000 clients.

“It’s been a wonderful experience owning our own business with good friends,” says Olds, “but what makes it even better is knowing we provide a service for others that makes a real difference in their homes and the environment.”

Adds Triggs, “We just knew it was a service people would love. For starters, there’s no more arguing with the kids about whose turn it is to clean the bins, and my garage smells fantastic. I’ve actually caught my kids with their faces in the bin because they can’t believe how good it smells.”

Now entering its fourth year in business, Remarkably Clean Bins operates from March 1 through the end of November and is one of only 250 companies across the country to offer this eco-friendly and convenient service to homeowners and commercial businesses.

For more, visit www.rcleanbins.com.

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