Making A Difference – One Clean Dumpster at a Time
Admit it – if you have trash and recycling bins – you know there comes a time when you hold your breath as you quickly open the lid and toss things in.
Kareem Miller’s mother had the same reaction at their home on the Caribbean island of Saint Martin. She told her son about it, and he started thinking there had to be a better way, an easier way to clean those dirty bins. So, he got to work. He started looking to see if there were a technology solution. That’s when he found a company in Miami that was making a truck that could do the job.
Last year he visited the truck maker in Miami. He rode around with the developer, and when they finished – he signed on to become their first franchisee. Kareem described himself as the We Clean Dumpsters “guinea pig.”
Indeed, if you look on the “We Clean Dumpsters” website – the lone location for residential service support is Charlotte, NC – although Kareem admitted that he is primarily working in North Mecklenburg.
Last week he came to Davidson, and News of Davidson had the chance to see him and the amazing truck in action. We took some photos and a video – which you can watch to see the process for yourself.
Neighbors had signed up online and had received a text the night before as a reminder to leave their bins out. Kareem says it works best to schedule the cleaning for the day after your trash and recycling has been picked up so that both bins are empty.
The first thing you notice is that truck is wrapped in advertising for his company – smart. The next thing we noticed is that Kareem is not only the company owner, but in many cases he is the driver too.
He pulls the bins to the back of the truck – into awaiting articulated arms – like the ones you see on trash trucks. Then he uses a pressure wash hose to clean off the exterior of the bins. He turns them around, and prepares them to be lifted up by the truck. The bins are lifted and placed over high-pressure steam nozzles for cleaning. He brings the bins down, checks for any remaining debris – repeating the process as needed. When he finishes, he uses an environmentally friendly deodorizer and returns the bins to their owners.
Now here’s the important part – all of the dirty water remains in the truck. It does not go down the storm water drains. Across all of Mecklenburg County – storm drains empty into water catchments and streams. So not only is it bad to wash out your own bins and potentially send trash down the storm drain, it is exponentially worse if you add in bleach or any sort of chemical cleaner that ends up in our streams.
When the truck’s dirty water tank is full, Kareem takes it to an approved facility and pays to dump it where it can be sent through a water treatment process. He said there are several locations in Mecklenburg and surrounding counties. In fact, one location that might come as a surprise is a large RV site. The content of his tank is considered “gray” water, and he is able to transfer it to a tank – just like an RV or camper.
One neighbor came out as Kareem was finishing the work and said that her husband had watched the entire process from inside their house. Without any hesitation, she said they had made the decision to become regular customers. They were not the only ones with that reaction.
Now some of you might be wondering about the impact of COVID-19 on this start-up. Kareem said, he actually thinks the pandemic has helped his business. More people are concerned with the cleanliness of their bins. He has nearly quadrupled his recurring customer base over the past year, and estimates that he can more than quadruple it again before needing to buy a second truck.
Kareem originally came to the Charlotte area to attend Johnson & Wales, and he stayed. He lives in Huntersville, but in his discussion with News of Davidson – he said he loves Davidson.
When we asked him to sum up why he got into the “We Clean Dumpsters” business, he said “I always wanted to own my own business. I wanted to have an impact. This is a job that no one likes to do, but I love my job. I know I’m making a difference.”
Kareem, you are making a difference! We bet your mom is proud, and we are glad residents in Davidson can take advantage of this service – one that is environmentally friendly.
News of Davidson supports our local businesses, and we love the environment. We hope our readers will consider supporting this amazing young entrepreneur.