Mid-Island entrepreneur testing garbage disposal prototype in Nanaimo

NANAIMO – Paydump catching on at Country Club Centre.

Erik Duivenvoorde

Erik Duivenvoorde

Every day is garbage day for Erik Duivenvoorde.

The inventor of Paydump said he hopes that because of his easy-to-use and convenient new garbage disposal product, coming soon to a parking lot near you, that every day will be garbage day for everybody.

“It’s been two years since I first got the idea at a campsite in Port Alberni to getting the first prototype out in public,” said Duivenvoorde. “I’ve got to tell you, I have a whole new respect for things that surround us every day. Even the simplest things have an incredible amount of work behind them.”

Paydump, a product of Duivenvoorde’s Qualicum-based Firebird Waste Disposal Ltd., is a simple device that sits atop a dumpster and allows customers to dispose of a single garbage bag at a time. Each bag costs $2, the same as buying an additional garbage tag from the city.

Customers simply drop a toonie in, lift up the lid, insert the bag, and close it, and the garbage is gone. When full, the bin is trucked off by the waste disposal service that holds the contract for the site.

“It provides convenience on several levels,” said Duivenvoorde.

“Landfill costs are going up, it saves people a trip to the landfill, and it saves people from having to go inside a store to buy garbage tags and then wait two weeks for the next garbage day. When they go grocery shopping, and everybody does, they just have to remember to take that bag and they can get rid of it much faster for the same price.”

Duivenvoorde’s first public Paydump prototype was established May 17 at Country Club Centre, about 100 metres southwest of the Save-On-Foods entrance, with the blessing of the mall’s management. He is currently in discussions with several other potential host sites, and said he has a long list of other sites that he said he feels would benefit from his product.

“Driving past Wal-Mart at Woodgrove I see a lot of RVs parked there. Where do those people dispose of their garbage?” he said. “I believe that if you generate the garbage, you should pay to dispose of it.”

He added he hopes that his service, though not specifically designed for it, will help reduce illegal dumping by providing convenient locations to get rid of garbage. Another side benefit could result in reduced greenhouse gas emissions, by having people who were going shopping anyway drop their garbage off at a Paydump instead of driving to the landfill.

A former BFI Waste Management employee – he was advised to quit his job before embarking on his entrepreneurial dream to avoid potential conflict of interest – Duivenvoorde said he recognized a big need at apartment complexes, commercial blocks and even campgrounds for a service like Paydump.

After an “incredible amount” of paperwork and patents, Duivenvoorde’s dream became a reality with the assistance of Nanaimo-based metal-workers who fabricated the first Paydump prototype, now at Country Club. Like any prototype, it hasn’t been without its glitches. On this day, the test device suddenly decided to give users their $2 back, causing Duivenvoorde equal amounts of concern and amusement.

“I’d rather these things happen now than when there are dozens of them out there. The next generation will have any issues solved, and we’re also working on a kicker that spreads the bags out once in the dumpster so it doesn’t get jammed up against the drum.”

Three more test prototypes are awaiting site agreements, and Duivenvoorde is accepting site suggestions on his Paydump Facebook page.

Paydump also has the attention of the Dragons, five of Canada’s top entrepreneurs that star on the hit CBC show Dragon’s Den. Duivenvoorde appeared before them in March in Toronto, and the episode is expected to be aired in the late summer or early fall. He was asked to sign a disclosure contract – nobody will know if a Dragon made him an offer until the show airs – but said he had fun promoting his dream to the Dragons.

Long-term, Duivenvoorde hopes to have a Paydump in every major parking lot, possibly with a smartphone app that will alert people of the nearest location to conveniently drop off their garbage, and maybe even a feature where people can pay using their phones instead of digging for a toonie.

But for now, he said he just wants to keep it simple, have Paydump catch on, and provide a useful service for people who have some garbage to dispose of.

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