Garbage entrepreneur almost ready to turn trash into cash

Pay Dump trash system taken for a spin at a Nanaimo mall — and people are using it

Eric Duivenvoorde shows off his invention at a Nanaimo mall.

Eric Duivenvoorde shows off his invention at a Nanaimo mall.

Who is ever going to pay to dispose of their trash?

It’s a question Eric Duivenvoorde has heard more than once, but now, thanks to a successful pilot project in Nanaimo, the Qualicum Beach entrepreneur is starting to find out the answer.

That answer, he said, is quite a lot of people, actually.

Duivenvoorde is the inventor of a device he calls the Paydump, which acts sort of like a vending machine in reverse, allowing residents to drop off their bags of trash for a nominal fee.

“We have placed the first bin out at the Country Club Mall in Nanaimo on Friday and we have a lot of positive feedback on our Facebook page for the Paydump,” he said. “A lot of people were positive about it. I went there and people are using it. I was really, really excited about that. Normally it’s not a good thing when you see other people’s garbage. For me it was a blessing.”

The fact that people are using his prototype puts the lie to the many doubters who expressed doubts about whether people would pay to dispose of their trash.

“It’s been a long time in the making and you always have the skeptics about who is going to pay for garbage,” he said. “But when you actually put in a bin and it’s actually being used, it’s a triumph in itself.”

Duivenvoorde said he has two new, improved prototypes of his Paydump invention that he’s looking to install as testers in high-traffic areas.

“If a reader has a location they would want one, we are open to suggestions for suitable locations available,” he said, noting the newer models have a larger chamber and a stronger mechanical unit.

Duivenvoorde started his project in February of 2011 and has been collecting field data in Nanaimo to compare the cost of waste removal to the amount of revenue created by the bin.

“It’s looking  really good,” he said.  “I was looking for about half the revenue to be cost, but it’s about a third.”

He’s confident his invention will fly and Duivenvoorde is already looking at various local manufacturers to fabricate the various components of the metal bins, which he plans to assemble locally as well.

“At this point the intention is to keep production of these things local,” he said. “We are looking to set up an assembly plant. We’ll get the different parts made at different local shops and ship them to one central location where we assemble them.”