Rod Gadson started Bling Bins LLC after realizing that there must be an easier and more eco-friendly way to clean his garbage and recycling bins.

Fort Myers News-Press

Rod Gadson arrived home from work one day to find his wife, Frankie, cleaning out the recycling bin.

“My wife’s body was like halfway into the recycling bin,” said Rod Gadson, the father of three: Raven, Ryan and Riley. “I was like, ‘Man, there’s got to be a better way to clean these out.’ I started looking into it online.”

Gadson, 46, began brainstorming. He began devising a business plan. But he needed a name for the business of sanitizing garbage and recycling bins.

One night, he and his oldest daughter, Raven, were watching Netflix. Raven offered what became her father’s new company name: Bling Bins.

“Bling is like shiny, clean, sparkling,” Gadson said. “That’s how we went with it.”

Anyone can pour soap or bleach into an empty garbage bin and do it themselves, Gadson said, but dumping the soapy, bleachy water onto the driveway or grass sends the chemical-infested water into storm drains and ecosystems. It wreaks havoc on the environment, Gadson said.

Rod Gadson pressure washes recycle bins in a south Fort Myers neighborhood on Thursday, May 6, 2021. Gadson started Bling Bins LLC after realizing that there must be an easier and more eco-friendly way to clean his garbage and recycling bins. (Photo: Amanda Inscore/The News-Press – USA Today Network-Florida)

“My truck is eco-friendly,” Gadson said. “The water goes into my 600-gallon tank. It doesn’t flow into your grass or down a storm drain. At the end of the day, I take it to an approved disposal facility and drain the water.”

BlingBins has three different payment plans: $9.50 per bin per month, $28.50 for a three-month billing cycle or $30 for a one-time cleaning.

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Gadson has been building from his initial list of about 40 clients.

LaTanya Giles, a Fort Myers resident and family friend, was one of them.

“He was talking about starting a business, and we definitely wanted to be a customer,” Giles said. “We work so much. We don’t have time to get out there and clean and sanitize the bin. We just didn’t feel comfortable doing that.

“He made them spotless. And then we’re not dumping that nasty stuff all into the yard. It’s much better for the environment. It’s a great thing that he’s doing.”

Gadson did his first cleanings in April. He drives his truck into neighborhoods on garbage day after the contracted garbage and recycling trucks empty the bins.

Gadson will pour some disinfecting chemicals into the bins, pressure wash them and then dump the water into his truck.

“They’ve been doing this for about 30 years in the United Kingdom,” Gadson said. “I started reading about the chemical water, the dirty water and how it ends up in the storm drains.”

Gadson wondered if any other communities in the U.S. were doing this. He found some in California and Texas.

“I found a guy on the West Coast who could build me the truck,” Gadson said. “That’s how all this started.”

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The business idea started before the COVID-19 pandemic did. The pandemic forced Gadson to pause his idea for a few months. But it also got potential clients thinking about eliminating germs and bacteria.

“Think about all the bacteria that can build up in your garbage cans,” Gadson said. “This business was needed during that time.

“My mission is to educate the community about how cleaning up your trash bins and your Dumpsters and how it impacts the environment.”

Prior to starting Bling Bins, Gadson had been working for Hilti, North America, a construction contractor supply company. He spent 17 years working for Enterprise Rental Car, ending his career with them as a regional manager who oversaw the locations from Estero to Marco Island.

Local sports fans might recall Gadson the football player. He started at quarterback and cornerback on the 1992 Fort Myers High School football team that finished with a 12-1 record and is regarded as one of the best teams in Lee County history.

“I have people who still talk to me about the team,” Gadson said. “We have a group of former teammates that we started. It’s myself and Jammi German, Deadrick Epps, Jeff Allen, Clifton Green, Randy Smith and Clifford Smith. We meet every three months to catch up and make sure the families are good and the kids are good. We always talk about Fort Myers High School and some of the things we could try to do to help out the pro

Gadson earned a football scholarship at Syracuse University. He graduated in 1997 with a degree in education and a minor in business management. From there, he had a brief stint playing semi-professional football in Mobile, Alabama before returning home to Fort Myers.

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Gadson is a one-man business for now. He’s spreading his message through word-of-mouth and social media.

“I want to make sure that when we grow, I want to make it a fun place to work,” Gadson said. “I want to be a committed citizen in our community.”

Starting his own business wasn’t easy, he said.

“The one thing for sure that gave me proof to start the business was I prayed about it,” Gadson said. “It was just in my gut for the longest time to start the business. My wife supported me 100% in this chapter in our lives. That made it easy for me. And then the support of different family members and my friends and pastor.

“There have been some challenges for sure as far as trying to get the proper documents and things of that nature, to be a legit business.

I didn’t quit. I didn’t give up. I kept praying about it, and things just started falling into place for me.”

Connect with this reporter: David Dorsey (Facebook), @DavidADorsey (Twitter).

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