Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Danny's Dumpster recognized as Small Business of the Month

The Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce is pleased to recognize Danny's Dumpster as Small Business of the Month. 

Read on for our interview with owner Danny Keaton.
Tell us a little of the history of the company
In 2007, Danny Keaton began hauling trash and recycling in the back of a 1985 Toyota van for residents in Madison County with the laid back motto, "Danny's Dumpster - You Make It, We Take It". But in 2008, when green legislation passed in North Carolina requiring businesses with alcoholic beverage permits to recycle their bottles, Danny recognized that the future of trash lay in responsible disposal, not mass disposal. He began offering all-inclusive hauling -- compost, recycle and trash. With an emphasis on compost collection, Danny opened a local certified compost processing facility in 2012, simultaneously diverting large volumes of materials from area landfills, while creating quality topsoil as a by-product for the community. As the business continues to grow, thanks in large part to the vision and of his customers and the dedication of his employees, Danny's Dumpster is able to more fully realize its mission: "Working towards a waste free WNC by enabling, educating and inspiring people to dispose responsibly and reduce waste through composting and recycling."

What are you most proud of about the company
I am probably most proud of the fact that we started out with little more than an idea and a working opportunity, and we've managed to not only survive amid competitive giants but thrive, thanks in large part to a community that values local relationships and responsible business practices.  

Danny Keaton (left) and staff pose
with Chamber president Kit Cramer
Your favorite thing in your workspace
Hands down - relationships with our employees. Whether its 90 degrees out and we're up to our elbows in pungent compost, or we're standing in the middle of downtown traffic hefting 200-pound carts of compost and recycling into our trucks -- the co-worker standing next to us is most likely the only one who can help us laugh our way through the situation. More significantly, it is a continually rewarding process to work with people you respect... for their work ethic and for the relentless strides they make in their daily life to be better for their family, their community and their own self. 

Best advice you’ve gotten for leading a small business
Some of the best advice I've received, business or otherwise, has come from my father-in-law, who has taught me: it's not about leading a company to success, its about adding value to the lives of individuals and influencing them, by your own example, to do the same. Whether professionally or personally, we all want to lead lives of significance, and that has everything to do with the character of our relationships and the beliefs that shape that character.   

What’s next on the horizon?
I'm constantly scouring for innovative ways to improve and accelerate our composting process. With the help of an upcoming North Carolina Department of Environmental Resources grant we hope to put some of our ideas into action. We are also working to expand our compost hauling service to residential customers, and we're excited to see that the City of Asheville has residential compost collection on its radar as well. 

The Small Business of the Month program allows the Asheville Chamber to recognize outstanding small businesses for their contributions to the community. Nominate an Asheville area business.

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