Inventor confident Can Stand can end toppled trash bins

By on July 12, 2017

A magnetic pad keeps the bins upright.

As a sanitation truck driver, Robert “Bobby” Hooper is all too familiar with the sight of trash cans blown over by the wind or knocked down by scavenging animals.

“I’d notice storm after storm so many cans would fall down. I’d pick up 600 to 700 cans on my route and it wasn’t anything to see 200 to 300 of those tipped over,” says Hooper.

Besides being a nuisance for garbage collectors and homeowners, toppled trash cans can pose a threat to the environment, with the trash ending up on beaches and floating in the ocean.

So five years ago, Hooper resolved to do something about it.

His patent-pending invention is called Can Stand, and it’s a remarkably simple approach using magnetic force to stick the trash bins to the roadside.

A magnetic pad is installed curbside where the garbage would normally be collected, and then a metal plate is fitted on to the bottom of the trashcan. When the can is placed on the pad it can withstand 65 mph a fact that Hooper discovered via the highly scientific method of installing it on a trailer and driving at increasing speeds until the can fell out of the back.

Robert Hooper

The pad is made of cement and rebar with three powerful magnets, and it is smooth and flat enough to drive a lawn mower over. Despite the strength of the magnets, removing the can from the pad is easy, and shouldn’t pose any problems for children, elderly citizens, or, of course, the mechanical arm of a garbage truck.

Additional pads can be installed wherever the cans are kept by the house, and Hooper is even experimenting with smart pads that can send an alert to your phone when the can has been picked up. The price of the standard model Can Stand is $180.

Anxious to see his invention put into action, Hooper recruited two partners for his LLC, Kelly Maderus and Herb Council. Council has been hard at work ever since trying to convince the towns to install a Can Stand in every front yard in Dare Country.

“Every municipality, if you go talk to them, there’s a problem with garbage cans blowing over and garbage blowing all over the beach. This will eliminate that problem,” says Council.

He also made the case that Can Stand will increase efficiency in trash collection, not just because sanitation workers won’t have to waste time picking up fallen cans, but also because garbage collection can run faster and smoother with the cans all in uniform rows.

“Once you’ve spent that money, the long-term implications of savings, safety and all the other factors, including the environment are immeasurable, in my mind,” says Council.

Kitty Hawk has agreed to a trial run of 20 to 25 homes on Linbergh Street. The town plans to go door-to-door with a letter asking homeowners if they would be willing to have Can Stand installed, with the costs being footed by Can Stand LLC. They’re hoping that nearly all of those homes will be in a row, to better demonstrate its efficiency.

If they can prove the concept, the next step will be convincing the town to pay for more of them, and have them installed throughout Kitty Hawk. Then they’ll move on to the next town, the county or perhaps even further.

“I’d like to see them spread out all over the country,” says Hooper.








  • Ron

    This won’t solve the problems of overstuffed cans causing the lids not to close resulting in blown garbage just as bad as an overturned can.

    Wednesday, Jul 12 @ 1:21 pm
  • Nickrite

    All very well but what about homes at the head of a turning circle who don’t have a front yard and where the trash truck cannot pull alongside? As it is we have to wheel our can down the street to a point where the truck can reach it.

    Wednesday, Jul 12 @ 1:53 pm

    Sounds like a great idea. I’d be all for it. Now if only Bay Disposal could figure out a way to their grappling claws from ruining all my cans. Never had a single problem when Waste Management had the route and used the lifting arm to raise and empty the cans. Been through 3 cans since the “claw” was introduced…Bay Disposal takes no responsibility and expects you to foot the bill on a replacement. What a moneymaking racquet they’ve implemented.

    Wednesday, Jul 12 @ 2:33 pm
  • OBX're for Life

    That’s a great idea… roll with it! Shark Tank????

    Wednesday, Jul 12 @ 3:22 pm
  • Corolla Resident

    I think this is a great idea, and I’d like to see something like it implemented, but they need to work out some bugs first, as described below in other comments. I also live on a cul-de-sac, and have to roll my cans down to the roadside of one of my neighbors’ yard to the main street, as do the others on my cul-de-sac. So that neighbor will need about 12 of those things in his yard. Dunno if he would like that.

    Wednesday, Jul 12 @ 3:40 pm
  • Roadrunner

    Great idea. I sincerely hope you have great success with this and that it makes ya’ll lots and lots of $$$$$.

    Wednesday, Jul 12 @ 3:54 pm
  • Lisa

    Great idea Bobby!

    Wednesday, Jul 12 @ 5:43 pm
  • jerry d'amico

    Great idea but would be hard to use on our investment property in Duck.

    Wednesday, Jul 12 @ 6:14 pm
  • Shonda

    Wonderful idea!!!

    Thursday, Jul 13 @ 2:01 pm
  • Ruthless

    Agree with Roadrunner on this topic! Great that Kitty Hawk is the test case. Sure hope the test moves from Lindbergh to the Beach Road soon.

    Thursday, Jul 13 @ 8:29 pm
  • JoAnn Davis

    It would also help if the sanitation truck driver lowered the cans back to the ground instead of dropping them mid air. That’s when I see them overturned on my street in KH !!!!

    Friday, Jul 14 @ 8:58 am
  • Bigdaddy

    These on the beach road would be useless. Would be covered by sand in no time.

    Friday, Jul 14 @ 11:24 am
  • Stacie Huelsman

    I think it is an awesome idea. I’m sure there will be a few wrinkles to iron out, but sounds like it will at least address the issue of the cans blowing over. Unfortunately, you can’t prevent the renters from overstuffing the cans.

    Friday, Jul 14 @ 11:23 pm
  • Clyde Futrell

    This sounds like a great idea. Since thrash pickup day was moved the sight of fallen cans, spewing trash everywhere , has grown much worse . I would be glad to be a test case on this end if you need one. I live in S Nags Head. May your invention go well.

    Tuesday, Jul 18 @ 9:47 am
  • Julia

    How do you buy them?

    Tuesday, Jul 25 @ 10:54 am