When working as a garbage collector on the east and west sides of the Tetons, Dave Udy encountered more than a few customers poised for him to finish so they could rinse their cans.
“It just astounded me how many people were waiting for me to empty the can, with a garden hose,” he said. “Then they’d just dump it on their lawn.”
Udy recently launched a new business, Teton Clean Cans, to do that job for them — and do it better, and without mucking up their lawns.
Udy’s self-contained cleaning system (he does power washing, too) is on a trailer that he brings to customers. He works in an area around his home base of Driggs, Idaho, and will travel to Jackson, Alpine, Star Valley, Idaho Falls and other towns.
“Once I get enough cans in the area I’ll come over and just do them all in one fell swoop,” he said.
The sole ingredient in a Teton Clean Cans wash is hot water.
“It’s chemical-free and pet-friendly,” said Udy’s son Jaxsen, 11.
Jaxsen is helping with the business.
“It’s cool to work with my dad,” he said.
The water is heated to 200 degrees and shoots out at 3,500 pounds per square inch to give each can a good scouring.
“It takes 20 seconds to 60 seconds to do a can inside and out,” Udy said. The dirty water flows into a holding tank, “so I’m not leaving any of the junk.”
In addition to getting the gook off, the washing sanitizes and deodorizes.
A dirty trash can is a perfect breeding ground for mold, salmonella and other bacteria, Udy said.
“It’s wet, it’s dark, it’s warm,” he said. When you touch the can and then touch doorknobs and kitchen counters “you’re spreading all that around the house.”
Washing away the juices that leak out of bag also removes a temptation for bears.
“You’re always going to have a leaky bag,” Udy said. “That stuff will create an odor that will attract bears.”
The Teton Clean Cans setup will work with anything from a 36-gallon Ace can to a 96-gallon curbside pickup can.
A wash costs $20 a can. Udy is contacting HOAs and property management firms and will offer a discount for bulk cans.