Stratford-based family business keeps beaches nationwide clean with ‘Trash Bagger’ invention


STRATFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Meet the Fitzpatricks. Jim, Ashley, and Chris have brought a whole new meaning to the expression “take out the trash.” They invented “The Trash Bagger”.

Jim said the assembly is simple: “You lace the bag over the inner ring. You pop it into the outer ring, and that outer ring keeps the bag open, all the time, no matter what kind of weather.”

Jim came up with the idea back in the late 80s, after watching people struggling to pick up trash along the highway. However, the idea was just blown in the wind until he saw an episode of the TV series, “Undercover Boss”.

“It was Larry O’Donnell from West Management. He got fired off his own landfill because he couldn’t keep trash in the bag or put it in,” Jim recalled.

After a bit of tweaking, a trademark, and two patents later, the business called Garbo Grabber was born in 2011. It’s a family affair, now headed up by daughter Ashley Lionetti.

“It was always instilled in us as young that, you know, the importance of our environment and keeping it clean,” Lionetti said.

The Fitzpatricks are also doing a clean sweep of the business world.  Due to their success, the Fitzpatricks wanted to give back by cleaning up beaches around the country, but, there’s a cost associated with that. So, they now operate “The Clean Earth Project” clothing line. 

Chris said, ”We started selling t-shirts, and now half of our apparel line is made from 100% recycled materials. This shirt, for example, is recycled cotton and 8 water bottles.”

The Clean Earth Project is hosting an Earth Day Clean-Up with District New Haven for Earth Day. Click here for more information.

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