Autistic Teen Runs Own Bin Cleaning Business in Wynnum Manly Area

Clay cleaning bins
Photo credit: Clay Needs No Moulding/Facebook

Clay Lewis has autism and couldn’t find an after-school job so he created one, his own bin-cleaning business.

One year ago, the eager 16-year-old offered his neighbours a free bin clean on New Year’s Day. When he did a fantastic job, his mother put the word out on Facebook and that is how Clay’s Bin Cleaning started.

Clay's Bin Cleaning Owner
Photo credit: Clay Needs No Moulding/Facebook

Clay’s mum, Laura Lewis, wanted him to find a part-time job so he could build his resume while he was still at school. She wanted him to build his references.

Laura says that Clay has dreams of living down the Gold Coast, owning a car, finding a wife, and having his own family. These are simple, perfectly reasonable dreams for most people. But for someone who has been diagnosed with autism at the age of 2, some of those dreams may be unattainable, and the way to those dreams, getting and keeping a job, may be particularly challenging.

Finding a part-time job was tough for Clay. He managed to get a trial position at a fish-and-chip shop. However, the owner told Laura that his business could just not afford to provide the on-the-job training that the boy needed.

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Today, the industrious teen does bin cleaning after school, every Monday and Tuesday. It costs $10 for Clay to clean one bin, $15 for him to tidy up two bins and then an extra $5 per bin after that.

Clay Lewis at work
Photo credit: Clay Needs No Moulding/Facebook

Initially, Clay took one employee, a friend from school, to work with him. When the demand increased, two other kids were trained to be backup.

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The bin cleaning business has given Clay a newfound confidence. Whilst his mom used to speak out for him, Clay is now advocating for himself. She is delighted that Clay’s business is teaching him to become more independent.

Laura believes that Clay’s story should send the message to employers to be more considerate when interviewing neurodiverse teenagers. She asserts that the limitations of people with autism spectrum disorder are set on them by others. They actually have lots of potential and the capability to spread their wings, with the proper support.

With mum Laura behind him, Clay is all set to test his wings and learn to fly.