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Sunday Business profile: Ex-Bullard High football star cleaning up on stinky garbage cans

ScrubCan owner Corey Jackson, 31, right, and his brother Phillip Jackson, 33, both of Fresno, clean the outside of the garbage can with reclaimed water after cleaning the inside in Fresno on Sept. 8, 2015. They filter and reuse the reclaimed water several times. SILVIA FLORES

Scrubbing trash cans filled with muck, sticky paper and flies is a dirty job, but Corey Jackson has found a way to clean it up.

Jackson started a business that takes recycled water from the city of Fresno, heats it to 200 degrees and shoots it through a pressure washer to scrape the inside of garbage cans. During the process, he recaptures and recycles the water to use again.

“Let clean cans be the norm,” says Jackson, 31, who started ScrubCan at the end of last year. His brother, Phillip, 33, works with him. “They don’t have to smell. They don’t have to have flies everywhere. You don’t have to hide them away in the backyard.”

Corey Jackson, once a standout football player for Bullard High School and Fresno City College, came up with the idea for a trash can-cleaning business after a horrid experience with his own reeking bin three years ago.

“It was the worst garbage can ever,” he says. “If there was a competition, I’d probably be the champion of it. There were maggots – leaping maggots – flies, spiders ... I said, ‘Someone’s got to do something about this.’”


Corey Jackson, owner of ScrubCan

Jackson, raised with his brother and two sisters by a single dad in Fresno, always wanted to own a business. He once had a barbershop and always has business ideas floating around his head. In 2004, he followed family to Las Vegas where he hoped to chase a dream to play in the National Football League.

When football didn’t pan out, “reality hit and it was time to find a job,” Jackson says from his office on Teilman Avenue, just north of Chandler Downtown Airport. His aunt urged him to become a correctional officer. He applied and went to work at High Desert State Prison, northwest of Las Vegas, at age 21.

But the job got dull and wasn’t challenging. Jackson wanted to pursue his business ideas while he was young. He returned to Fresno in 2008 and worked at Valley Wide Beverage Co.Four years later, the ScrubCan idea came along.


The business joins at least one other company in the central San Joaquin Valley that cleans garbage cans – Fresno Clean Cans.

Jackson’s friend and mentor Phil Brandt of Brandt Brothers Enterprises, a delivery company in Fresno, gave him a truck and office space to start the business. Jackson outfitted the truck to be a dishwasher for trash cans. Two 500-gallon water tanks and one 300-gallon tank are bolted inside along with a pressure washer and a vacuum, or reclaim system.

Every two weeks, Jackson pumps 500 gallons of reclaimed water from the city’s sewer farm to use on the trash cans. The truck carries another tank of deionized water, stripped of minerals, to wash solar panels, another service ScrubCan offers.

The truck’s back lift, or platform, works like sink basins. The cans are turned upside down and put on top of the platform where water heads shoot 360 degrees around the inside of the garbage can. The water is collected in the basin and sucked back into the tanks.

The heat sanitizes the cans so chemicals don’t have to be used, Jackson says.

Dirty trash cans are “a problem everyone deals with” but no one wants to do anything about it, Jackson says. “I want to tackle this. I want to save water. I want to do it the right way.”

On Tuesday afternoon, the brothers scrubbed cans for George and Cathy Milutinovich in northwest Fresno for the first time. The couple hired ScrubCan to clean their solar panels a few weeks ago. Then they asked Jackson to wash their trash cans after hosting a couple of parties at their home.

The couple watched as the ScrubCan truck cleaned the cans in minutes. It takes about 30 seconds for each can to be washed.

“The way they do it is so efficient because there is no loss of water,” George Milutinovich said.

500gallons of reclaimed water lasts ScrubCan about two weeks

ScrubCan has about 200 residential and commercial clients. It also does fleet cleaning, solar panel cleaning, restaurant cleaning and steam pressure washing. Corey Jackson hopes the business will grow and become a standard service for all homes in the future.

The cost for residential trash cleaning, all three cans, once a month is $17.95. The quarterly rate is $29.95.

“I love it,” Jackson says. “I smell horrible every day, but I smile every day. I don’t know why, but I think I’m making something from nothing, maybe because (the business) is mine and I’m building it.”

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