BETHESDA -- Ever sit at a baseball game eating a slice of pizza, and not know what to with the plate once you’re done? You probably shoved the plate on the ground below your chair, assuming the janitors at the stadium will pick it up for you. Brian Kelley, 22, has an invention to change that.
The idea started during a group project in his entrepreneurship class during his senior year at The Bullis School in Potomac. The students were assigned to create a business idea and pursue that idea. “Going to a lot of games growing up, I’ve noticed the amount of trash that accumulates,” Kelley said. “So this idea came up in my head, I thought ‘Let’s get a better way for being able to throw out trash.’”
Kelley wanted to create a more efficient way for people to throw out their trash and for cleaning crews to collect the trash. To do this, Kelley started by taping paper bags onto the bottom of chairs. The bag makes cleanup after the game easier, as all a janitor would have to do is pick the bag off the chair, instead of pick up the trash off of the floor.
Kelley conducted two experiments to test how popular the product would be. Kelley first brought his product to life at a Bullis basketball game during the entrepreneurship class. Kelley and his teammates taped paper bags to seats in the gym, and asked for feedback after the game. Kelley got positive feedback on the bags from those in attendance, helping to confirm that this idea could be one that sticks.
Second, Kelley snuck into a movie theater, and attached a plastic bag to the bottom of the chairs, writing the word “trash” on the bags. Kelley provided no further information to those entering the theater; he wanted to see whether people would use the bags. This experiment too was a huge success.
From the positive feedback that came with the experiments, Kelley took his school project and turned it into a business, and Kanga Trash Solutions was born. The name Kanga is short for kangaroo, as the bags are pouches under the chair similar to a kangaroo’s pouch.
Kelley has greatly advanced his product from attaching a paper bag to the bottom of a chair with tape. Now, Kelley orders trash bags online, and he is producing a hook that attaches to the chair bottom. Kelley currently produces the hook via 3D printing. He filed a patent request for the hook, but he has not heard back.
Kelley’s product has been enjoyed in its test runs.
Kelley said he believes his product makes the lives of both fans and cleanup crews easier. “A dad’s worst nightmare is leaving at half-eaten hot dog on the floor, and his daughter stepping in it,” Kelley said. “We can solve that problem by making it easier for families to throw away their trash, not having to get up or throw it on the floor.”
The Bethesda Big Train, a summer league team in the Cal Ripken League, is using Kelley’s bags. Throughout the season, different sections of the Big Train’s stadium Shirley Povich Field had the bags on the chairs. Fans at the Big Train games seemed impressed with the bag, and several said the product is one that they would like to see continue.
Kelley wants to carry his business on to a higher level, and that means bringing the product to a manufacturer, as well as getting the bags to bigger venues. Using the bags at Big Train games has given Kelley metrics he needs to show other teams, as well as help him improve the product.
“Our vision is to be in sections of minor league and professional stadiums,” Kelley said. “I spoke with the general manager for the York Revolution [a team in the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball which is not associated with Major League Baseball] we tested at a three game series back in August last year. It was a good test run for us, and the next step to solidify ourselves in those stadiums is to enhance our bag and get it manufactured.”
Kelley plans to take the attachment to Proto Labs, a manufacturing company that 3D prints. In addition, Kelley wants to manufacture a bag that can withstand the harsh elements like rain that can occur at a baseball game.