Startup offers new way to dispose of your trash

Matt Donovan started Toss Box last year as a solution to illegal dumping

Toss Box offers residents, visitors and passerbys an opportunity to dispose of up to four regular trash bags 24/7, for a fee of $4.95.
Matt Donovan/Courtesy Photo

Lifelong Eagle Valley resident Matt Donovan worked in the trash business for 20 years until he decided to bring new technology and innovation to the space. Last year, Donovan started his business Toss Box — a new solution to illegal dumping and trash collection challenges in local and neighboring communities.

Toss Box offers residents, visitors and passersby an opportunity to dispose of up to four regular trash bags 24/7, for a fee of $4.95.

“The reality is, everyone has trash but Toss Box makes it convenient and affordable to get rid of it in a legitimate, legal, authorized manner,” Donovan said.

Donovan installed the first Toss Box at the Stop N Save in Vail last year and quickly followed up with additional units in Edwards (at the Stop N Save there), Steamboat Springs and Keystone. While he sees that the model could be adopted in a number of locations, mountain communities are perfectly positioned due to the volume of short-term rentals, second-home owners and also campers and visitors.

“There’s several reasons that people need an opportunity to get rid of their trash when they want to, on their schedule,” Donovan said, adding then several use cases for when people might need Trash Box.

Support Local Journalism

This includes residents who — be it for frequent travel or occasional vacations — are going to miss a designated trash day; people returning to the Front Range after a weekend (or longer) trip to the mountains; people traveling through the mountains in their RV, camper or van; short-term rental property owners looking to quickly turn over units and trash; and more.

“In most towns, there is not a way, if you don’t have curbside trash service or a dumpster at your complex then you really don’t have a legitimate way to get rid of your couple bags of trash, and so people resort to very illegal dumping or unauthorized dumping, meaning maybe you bring it to your workplace or bring it to a construction site and throw it in or take it to town parks and shove it in their trash can,” Donovan said. “This just provides a legitimate way to get rid of trash as opposed to driving all the way to the landfill.”

Donovan said that the Toss Box feeds into the new “on-demand culture,” referring to it as the “trash world’s version” of new on-demand technologies like Amazon and Netflix.

“People are really looking to get rid of trash on their schedule and not conform to the traditional curbside trash collection service and schedule,” he said.

The Toss Box itself is a bear-proof box that uses vending machine technology to operate a trash compacter, Donovan said.

“It’s terribly easy — you swipe a credit card, the door opens, you throw your trash away and off you go,” he added, also saying that after, the trash is compacted and then picked up by the local trash collector once the unit is full. By compacting the trash, this also reduces the number of trips trash trucks need to make to the units.

Currently, in its five locations, Toss Box is located at gas stations, convenience stores and car washes. However, Donovan said the company is currently in the process of trying to partner with municipalities to put the units at local recycling facilities and other convenient locations.

And as the company continues to add units and grow, Donovan said that Toss Box is also trying to integrate a recycling unit with its current units as an added service for customers.

For now, Donovan is just happy to see the concept take off, with the existing units already seeing repeat customers and a steady stream of demand.

“It’s been fun to launch the service and see the rapid growth and people realizing the benefit, the affordability and the convenience,” Donovan said. “It’s really gaining traction in the locations we have it. We’re expanding to new locations going forward and I’m excited about the future.”

Support Local Journalism