Take that, trash pandas!

Leaside’s Rick Roos takes on the raccoons of the city. Photo Rick Roos.
Leaside’s Rick Roos takes on the raccoons of the city. Photo Rick Roos.

Trash pandas beware – Rick Roos has invented a way to spoil your nocturnal feasts.

The 49-year-old Leaside father of one has created BinClaw, a device for securing your garbage bin from pesky raccoons and other urban critters looking to enjoy an all-you can eat buffet.

BinClaw has sold 2,000 units in three months. And interest in the product is growing.

After discovering his neighbour had cleaned up a mess left by hungry scavengers, Rick decided there had to be a better way than relying on the city’s green bins with their “lock-proof” lids.

“When I look at the world around me, I see things in terms of opportunity,” says Rick. “I was gone for the weekend and the raccoons had a party and my poor neighbour Laurie had to clean that up. I felt awful because there’s just something intimate about your coffee grounds and chicken wings.”

Test-driving a couple of bin-securing devices already on the market left Rick convinced he could build a better, er, mousetrap.

“I bought a product and installed it. The first time the truck came to pick it up, it destroyed the mechanism,” he says.

The genius of BinClaw is its simplicity of design, which enables the user to attach it to a bin in just seconds with an adjustable weather-proof strap. The device, made of nylon, rubber and polyester, fits all bins and can be easily adapted in seconds to fit securely. The handle is designed to allow the user to open a bin with one hand, leaving the other free to carry a garbage bag and keep hands as clean as possible.

“One of my governing design principles is no tools,” declares Rick. “That’s why it just snaps on, stretches forward to lock. I thought to myself, Elon Musk is sending people to Mars – I could solve this garbage problem. And so, I set out to improve on it.”

He turned to local industrial designer Philip Poissant, who added his expertise and contacts to the project.

“We worked quite closely together and came up with some prototypes,” says Rick. “He has some pre-existing relationships overseas that he trusts.”

Once introduced, BinClaw took off like a raccoon caught in the middle of garbage thievery.

“We launched in January, 2024 and within two months it was number one on Amazon by a long shot, easily over twice as much as my closest competitor,” Rick says. “There’s a lot of interest from distributors, from retailers, from people who want to license it, not only in the US, some from Canada, also from Switzerland, the UK, Germany and France.”

Sales in Canada are all online as of April, 2024, but Rick also plans to explore avenues to distribute his product in bricks-and-mortar stores.

Recently returned from a show in Chicago where he displayed his wares, Rick says people are stunned by the simple and effective design.

“When I showed them that you just stretch it down to the wheel axle, they couldn’t believe this hadn’t been invented before.”

Rick is proud of the fact BinClaw not only works but it also has curb  appeal.

“It’s possible to elevate the experience of taking out your trash,” he says.

The device is priced at $24.99. For more info: https://binclaw.com.

About Steve Hardy 3 Articles
Steve Hardy is a columnist for Leaside Life.