The Gutter Bin Stops Trash Before It Gets Into Rivers And Lakes

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A Gutter Bin glamour shot.

Frog Creek Partners

Cleanups are great: You can pick up trash from the beach or the water. A device called the Gutter Bin is a step ahead. It stops trash like plastics from running off the streets and into storm drains that empty into rivers and lakes. You might call it an upstream solution.

The “I wish I’d thought of that” system comes from Frog Creek Partners, a Wyoming startup. The Gutter Bin catches trash and sediment in a bag, allowing water to pass through so the streets and parking lots don’t flood.

“The concept is simple,” says Brian Deurloo, Frog Creek’s founder. “We like to describe it as a coffee filter for storm drains.”

Mundus Bags

It isn’t the only catch basin insert on the market. But Deurloo says there are loads of attributes that make the Gutter Bin a great trash stopper.

Among them: Pollution is captured at each station by a Mundus Bag water filter (Latin for “clean world”). So the contents can be easily measured, geocoded and imported into GIS software, letting the municipality see where pollution is coming from. The Mundus also is designed to allow water to drain from the streets even if it becomes completely full. No flooding

There are even different kinds of Mundus bags, for trash and vegetative waste to plastic, sediment, hydrocarbons and heavy metals, which means it’s customizable to location and season.

Customers can put their logos on it too, which helps build public awareness. As in, that piece of trash you dropped on the ground isn’t going to pick itself up, and things like cigarette butts are toxic to fish. Put litter in its place.

“We live in a country that doesn’t agree about much—from football, to politics, to Game of Thrones,” Deurloo says. “But, we’ve never heard anyone say that they don’t believe clean water is a good thing. Partnering with Frog Creek Partners to sponsor Gutter Bins is about the safest and longest-lived marketing decision a corporation can make.”

A branded Gutter Bin.

Frog Creek Partners

Cost, Origins and Pounds

The Gutter Bin generally retails from $500-900 per unit, with volume discounts available. They have a rated life of 25 years. “There are many ways you can slice a cost benefit analysis, but the Gutter Bin definitely pays for itself for many of our customer in the way of regulatory compliance or maintenance costs,” says Deurloo, also company president.

The first Gutter Bin was installed to protect the Goose Creek watershed in 2016 Sheridan, Wyoming, where they’re still in use. There also are installations in other parts of Wyoming, along with Colorado and California.

The startup is focused for expansion in three areas of the United States: the Intermountain West, Pacific Coast and Chesapeake Bay area. Sales also have begun in the Southeast and will soon expand to the Great Lakes region, Deurloo says. 

In Denver, Colorado, a dozen Gutter Bins reportedly removed close to 2,500 pounds of pollution in a single year.

That’s about 205 pounds per catch basin per year, the founder added.  Denver has more 22,000 catch basins; extrapolating that number means that about 4.5 million pounds of pollution is currently not being captured per year and is discharged to the South Platte River. All of Denver’s trash can eventually flow to the Gulf of Mexico and spread globally.

“To put this in even greater context, we estimate there are approximately 40 million catch basins in the United States and the vast majority are unprotected,” Deurloo says. “That puts the approximate pollution capture potential for the US at 41 million tons or 8.2 billion pounds per year.”

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