A Port Moody couple is helping make their city sweet-smelling - one garbage bin at a time.
Marc and Amanda Perka have launched their BinBath.ca business just as just as bear season is getting underway. And the Perkas hope the service for homes and commercial properties will make the city safer, as well as cleaner.
Bears are attracted to the smell of food in green waste bins. They start coming out of the mountains in April and May and if they find human food waste to eat, they often don't leave, sometimes becoming a nuisance that requires them to be relocated or even shot.
In Port Moody, for example, bears have taken to damaging locked bins in their effort to get at the waste. In fact, 24 garbage and recycling bins have been damaged so far in the city this year. "It's quite a novelty at first, but then it becomes a safety issue," said Marc.
He and his wife researched the business and purchased a European-made bin-washing system that fits on the back of a truck. "In Europe it's a law that residents have to clean their bins, for the reasons that Port Moody is experiencing right now," Amanda added.
They recently demonstrated their efficient bin-washing system, during a visit by The Tri-City News. They showed how high-pressure water, followed by a squirt of deodorizer, can turn a green waste bin from a rank, grass-lined mess into a freshly-washed bin. A series of filters separates out the debris and the water can be reused to clean more bins and no chemicals are used in the process.
"We're essentially chemical-free. That has been a goal of ours. We basically use the hot water and the pressure," Marc explained.
It's a service will likely appeal to Port Moody residents concerned about the smell of residue in their waste carts. The smell of food waste, while it might be attractive to bears, is repellant to humans.
Currently, BinBath.ca is only available in PoMo, but the couple expects to expand in the future as more homeowners and businesses sign on for weekly, bi-weekly and monthly service and more cities require food waste to be separated from garbage to comply with a 2015 Metro Vancouver ban.
Their home off April Road has been ground zero for bears over the years, and neighbors' damaged garbage bins can be seen on the street. When the Perkas moved to PoMo from Alberta (Marc is an airline pilot and moved with his job), the bears were a surprise - then a worry.
The couple researched the issue extensively, learning about the issue of bears and garbage, and various business models before settling on BinBath.ca. Amanda is in charge of the marketing. With a friend she designed the logo, and has been placing door hangers at most homes in the city. She also handles commercial customers as well.
Meanwhile, Marc drives the truck splashed with BinBath.ca logos, which attracts a lot of attention on city streets. He does the bin-cleaning on garbage day after the bins are emptied of waste.
It's a dirty, smelly job and he wears a rain jacket and boots to do it. A squirt of deodorizer after the pressure-wash bath and the bin is as good as new, and Marc is off to the next house. "We're asking people to give us a try," he said.
For information on how to sign up, visit their website at www.binbath.ca.