They’re not exactly Gucci or Louis Vuitton, but Ray Beaulne’s bags have been trending hot this week.
The Bag it Bermuda dumpster bags he sells out of Bermuda Rentals on Bakery Lane in Pembroke, can carry loads of 2,000 to 3,000 pounds, depending on the size of the bag.
Since Category 3 Hurricane Humberto struck the island a week ago, the bags have been flying off the shelves.
“People are coming in after the hurricane and filling them full of foliage,” Mr Beaulne said.
The bags come in three sizes one tonne, 1.5 tonne and 2 tonne.
Some customers take advantage of Mr Beaulne’s crane truck service Calabash Trucking, to take away the refuse when they’re done cleaning up, others prefer to dispose of it themselves.
Mr Beaulne started thinking about dumpster bags after renovating an old house two years ago.
“When I renovated the first bathroom, pulling up the floors and redoing the electrical work and plumbing, I had a lot of debris afterward,” he said. “I watched the guys dig everything up, and wheel it to the front of the house.
“Because I didn’t want it on the front of my lawn, they put a tarpaulin down. Then they put everything on top of the tarpaulin. Then the truck would show up. They would then proceed to handle it again to put it into the truck. I was looking at it thinking this is not very efficient.”
When he renovated the next room he used a dumpster bag. This time the guys carried the rubble out, put it in the bag, and a crane truck came, lifted it and took it away.
“The guys only had to handle it once,” Mr Beaulne said.
The advantage of using the bag over an actual dumpster is that it’s flexible and can fit in tight spaces. On one job renovating a home in an apartment complex, the driveway could not be blocked with a dumpster, so they put a bag onto the balcony, then had a truck lift it up and haul it away.
And Mr Beaulne felt there was less chance of property damage with a bag, compared to a large metal dumpster.
The bags, made of woven fibres, are incredibly strong.
“I definitely overloaded the one I used in the renovation,” he said. “It was overflowing with concrete and rubble from tearing up the floors. I was looking at this thinking, this weighs a lot more than 3,000lbs.”
But the bag was lifted into the truck with no ripping.
“They are also waterproof,” Mr Beaulne said. “I’ve seen guys use it as a mould for concrete moorings.”
But the bags aren’t meant to be a long-term solution. They are decomposable, which means that if you leave them out in the sun for a month, they’ll turn to dust.
When Mr Beaulne first wanted to bring them in 2017, he struggled with pricing. Dumpster bags are relatively inexpensive in the United States selling for between $20 to $30 a bag, depending on the size.
“For me to get it here and land it and pay freight and duty it turned out to be a $45 bag,” he said. “Then if I was going to retail it I would have to cover my overheads and profits, so it wasn’t affordable.”
Instead, he had his own made in China, adding his own design features during the process.
“We had straps added to the bottom,” he said. “So that if you want to reuse the bag you can use the straps to tip the bag’s contents into the trash.”
He also made them a little bigger than ones he’d seen selling in the United States.
He said he now sells them for prices comparable to what’s on offer in the United States.
But when he first brought them in things got off to a slow start.
“We had trouble getting the word out there,” he said. “We didn’t do well at marketing them, at first. But if I took them around, contractors latched on to them. They’re reusing them. They wear them out and come in and get another one.”
Bag it Bermuda really started to sell after he bought Bermuda Rentals towards the end of 2017, and moved into their current location at 18 Bakery Lane, in mid 2018.
• Bag It Bermuda now has its own Facebook page @bagitbermuda. For more information call 707-2248