The women behind “Pink Trash” use waste to make a difference
If you’re ever in Wilmington, N.C., something unexpected might catch your eye. Nestled behind the waterfront streets and laid back beach vibes, you’ll find bright, bubblegum colored dumpsters and garbage trucks throughout the city.
With over 24,000 commercial, residential and construction customers serviced weekly, it’s evident… the pink takeover is growing.
The women behind Coastal Ladies Carting, or “Pink Trash,” are doing something quite unique in the waste industry — they’re taking their community’s waste and turning it into a community benefit.
But how, exactly?
Pink Trash allocates one percent of every commercial and residential trash bill to help local residents that have been diagnosed with breast cancer, in an effort to help pay for their treatment(s). And no one can relate to the benefit of this more than founder Kelly Buffalino, a breast cancer survivor.
Since the company’s launch just six years ago, Pink Trash has paid for over $1,000,000 in life-saving cancer treatments for family, friends, and neighbors in the Wilmington area.
The idea for Pink Trash came from more than a desire to help those battling breast cancer though. Kelly knew firsthand that the waste industry was in dire need of some improvements, as she and her husband experienced cost issues as local small business owners.
“We were basically just analyzing the expenses, going through the financials, and trying to see where we could cut expenses,” Kelly said. “We were realizing that the trash rates were constantly increasing. When we called to try to resolve them, we were routed through a call center that was not even in Wilmington.”
Kelly calculated the direct costs of service and was determined to provide the community with a solution that focused on service, environment, and cost. She started with a flat rate, no fee business model and the organization of an experienced team to coordinate business operations. Bundle that with the partnership of her good friend Michelle Inman, who owned a local septic company, and the rest is history.
The mission snowballed, becoming just as personal for the rest of the team.
Through involvement and focused efforts within the local community, the entire Pink Trash team has had the chance to meet the people they’re helping.
“We make it a point to know our customers,” Michelle said.
This female duo is not only providing a unique service for their customers, but they’re doing it while taking the heavily male-dominated industry by storm.
“Never give up and don’t back down,” Kelly advises other women who want to start a business. “Don’t believe the hype that women are a minority because we’re not.”
With more affordable hauling services, and a bevy of other ancillary benefits for their customers, Pink Trash is changing the game — all with a focus on friendly, reliable customer service. Their flat rate, no fee business model makes recycling and landfill diversion more accessible to residents and business owners. The team regularly educates customers about the benefits of recycling and the options available to them. Through these intentional and focused efforts, Pink Trash has been able to quickly expand the recycling side of their business and prevent more trash from ending up in the landfill.
At Rubicon, we’re proud to partner with incredible local haulers like Kelly and her team. Our network is full of small businesses — haulers and customers alike — who share our commitment to using business as a force for good. Together, we can all make a difference in our local communities and around the world.