Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Trashman: garbage never smelled so sweet

Innovation seems to be at its height during tough times. It didn’t take long after the city workers went on strike for some innovative Torontonians to come up with solutions to a potentially stinky problem.

Bill Hennessey took an entrepreneurial approach. But what Ryan Taylor is doing is an inspiration to us all. Ryan developed a plan to pick up people’s garbage with help from his partner Asaka Yamashita and friend Michael Penny. The cool thing is all money collected will go to War Child Canada, a charity helping children in war torn countries.

Ryan Taylor isn’t a guy with extra time on his hands. He devised this plan while working on his new business venture, Fair Trade Jewellery Co. (The FTJCo) set to launch in mid-July. (Stay tuned, it warrants a post of its own.)

I recently interviewed Ryan for Bargainista:

B: Where did you get the idea to pick up garbage during the garbage strike?
RT: I’ve read and heard a lot of negative feedback regarding the labour dispute, a lot of anger but nothing constructive. I think people are upset with changes to their routine and illegal dumping is always unacceptable for locals, who take pride in their neighborhoods.

While the city and union work out their differences, I thought a simple solution to ease tensions would be to offer a small scale pick-up and drop off service especially for families, seniors and those physically unable to get their garbage to an official drop site. By offering this service for a fee we achieve two things: people are more considerate of what is essential to dispose of and with all the proceeds we support a worthy cause in War Child Canada.

B: How can Bargainista readers arrange to have their garbage picked up and where does it go?
RT: We’ve tried to make it as simple as possible visiting my “trashman” blog and use the form on the site to enter your pick-up details, if your readers are paying by credit card they can do so direct to War Child. It’s an honour system so just make a note that payment was made using that method on our form.

B: Will you pick up garbage from businesses as well as households?
RT: Both absolutely.

B: What are the three most important things we need to do if we want to arrange to have our garbage picked up?
RT: Ask your neighbors if they’d like to take part, help those around you in need, and consolidate your trash.

B: What can we do to help?
RT: Blog about it, tweet about it, and better yet print off the 8.5 x 11 posters and show your support offline.

B: How big is your team?
RT: My incredible partner Asaka, my videographer, Michael and me.

B: How did you decide to donate all proceeds to charity, specifically War Child Canada?
RT: My relationship with War Child was really solidified after NetChange week. I really enjoyed working with James, the War Child team is incredible and of course the cause really needs our support.

B: What has the reaction been from Torontonians?
RT: Generally positive, I think these ‘spark’ programs are new and hard to grasp. People like long planning sessions, big brand sponsors and traditional media coverage to confirm legitimacy. Is it shameless promo or good community? I leave that for the public to decide, in the mean time I’m renting a truck, up at 3 a.m. hauling 50lb bags dirty diapers from around the city. ;)

B: What has surprised you most since you announced this initiative?
RT: I’m getting more attention speaking to people in the community using good old-fashioned DIY posters than Social Media. There’s something to be said about a smile and a handshake from a neighbor.

Where can you find Ryan when he’s designing treasures instead of collecting trash?
Ryan Taylor
Goldsmith, Adventurer
The Fair Trade Jewellery Co.

Atelier: 523 Parliament St. (map)
Toronto, Ontario M4X1P3

image credits
photo of Ryan Taylor from http://blog.ftjco.com/blog/
poster concept designed by Jason Murphy
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  1. Wow! I didn't know Ryan was doing this. So far I'm managing my garbage okay, but will spread the word.

  2. Yep, he started on the weekend. I've been missing a lot of news on the Twitterstream lately too but I caught this news on Saturday. We're managing our garbage okay too but if we get stuck I'll definitely give Ryan a shout. I've been telling neighbours too. April Dunford even left cookies for Ryan and his crew.


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