Goedzak by


Goedzak by Waarmakers

Dutch designers Waarmakers have created sustainable rubbish sacks for discarding unwanted items in good condition, in the hope that they'll be picked up by a new owner instead of ending up at a landfill site.

Once full, the bags with transparent panels are left in the street along with normal refuse so passers-by can pick them up and make use of their contents. The items are kept clean and dry but still visible, and if they remain in place when the refuse collection truck passes then they will be taken away with the rest of the rubbish.

Goedzak by Waarmakers

The project aims to introduce a more sustainable method of waste disposal along with a benevolent attitude towards providing potentially useful items for others.

"We started out by trying to make a product that would require the least bit of effort for all involved, so lowering the threshold to act altruistically for the user as much as possible by making it the same act as taking out the trash," Simon Akkaya of Waarmakers told Dezeen.

The word goedzak means "do-gooder" in the Netherlands, and also combines the Dutch words for "good" and "bag". The designers plan to collaborate with a chain of second-hand shops in Amsterdam called Kringloop Het Goed whereby the bags are picked up and taken to their stores, and the items are sorted and resold or recycled from there.

Goedzak by Waarmakers

Waarmakers comprises Maarten Heijltjes and Simon Akkaya, two graduates of TUDelft in the Netherlands. The Goedzak idea was part of Akkaya's graduation project entitled Design for Altruism, which aimed to "design products that stimulate people to act to benefit others, preferably complete strangers."

Waarmakers sent us the following text:

Goedzak is a special garbage bag for items that are still useable. It’s a friendly way to offer products a second chance and stimulate sustainable behavior.

Goedzak by Waarmakers

Whether it’s that purple vase your sister-in-law got you, or that particular coffee-pad-loving coffeemachine (you know the one) that’s been lying in the basement for ages; everybody owns items that are no longer of value to them.

Every now and then we throw out these items, while they still might be of value and/or useful to others. These items disappear in grey garbage bags and end up on trash piles. Goedzak offers these items a second chance. Goedzak stimulates people to dispose of their products in a more conscious and sustainable way. Goedzak can extend the products’ lifetime.

  • mlk

    Give those sacks for free, otherwise it will be left as useless idea. (as in Prague – free paper bags of nice design for dogs poop) :)

  • This is something people pretty much do already in Hackney. It’s one of the things I love that makes that part of town special, the unwritten rule that you can leave items that are still of use on the street and someone will always come along and help themselves. This is a great way of taking that idea to other places. Super simple, love it.

    • Beatrice

      Then you see it for sale in one of the many godawful hipster shops that keep opening up in the area. Small beans consumerism coming from Daddy’s money. Pffft. Get a job.

    • firstkitten

      It happens all over Perth, Australia, where I live: if you want to get rid of something, you put it close to the road verge. In ten years I think I have only had one or two items (of dozens) not taken.

      What I do like about this is that it allows for smaller items to be left out, to be seen and to be protected from the rain (not that we get a lot here).

  • karen

    This is one of those truly brilliant ideas that affects everyday life in a positive fashion.

  • comoperromalo

    Could be good in a place like London, where rain ruins most of the things you could discard. However, I never saw people picking up electronic trash (like keyboards) so the question is: how long the bag will remain on the streets if no one takes the content? For ever?

    • Donkey

      As stated in paragraph 2, until the garbage truck arrives.

  • deedee

    I think this is not a good idea. Why not just bring it to the second hand store? If you put it on the street, chances are it will be vandalised etc.

  • Fitty

    Why not reuse a transparent bag in the first place?
    Another sustainable idea: don't use a bag!

  • DML

    As in Hackney, people do this already all over south-east London. People cover sofas in makeshift plastic covers to protect them so that people will take them away.

    Maybe the Dutch just aren’t as thrifty yet!

  • Paul

    Two words: charity shop.

  • Outside of London most places aren’t crawling with charity shops. So this bag, as explained in the story, helps make it as effortless as possible to actually give stuff a second chance – without you having to drive somewhere to donate it. Also, the bag is a great idea because not only does it keep the stuff dry and clean for whoever will want it – as a concept in itself it also reminds people they have other options besides putting everything in the bin.

  • Eric

    As someone who works for a environmental non-prof that works to reduce our growing dependency on landfills, this looks promising.

  • Beatrice

    It’s a lovely idea. It’s a weird psychological/social problem identified and solved in a very minimal and effective way. +1

  • Chris

    I think it’s a great idea as I’ve seen things in normal bins/bags that I’ve wanted but not felt comfortable taking. I think it may be technically illegal to remove items from bins in the UK as it’s illegal to take items from a skip without permission – but they are gold mines of materials. It’s crazy how much stuff is wasted.

  • Freddy

    Can somebody please explain to me why putting stuff in a plastic bag on the street is a better alternative then bringing it to a second hand/charity shop? I noticed the comments suggesting this are receiving a lot of thumbs down.

  • Evon

    So lets create more plastic bags so that we can get rid of our crap!? Where’s the eco-logic there? This world can live without another plastic bag, no matter how “cool”.

  • Leo

    Willing to pay for these bags, but where can I buy them?

  • Mary Anne enriquez

    I am in the USA. We already have enough unwanted plastic bags littering the streets, along with every other kind of trash. What does it take to manufacture these bags Petroleum? The energy utilised in the creation of the bags and the bright coloured inks is cause for worry from environmental standpoints. Are they compostable? The bags themselves are so problematic that it environmentally negates any good that could come out of the idea.

    Donate your unwanted to a charity shop. Or sell at a garage or car boot sale/flea market. I donate to charity shops all the time. The point is, people at least in the USA are always leaving crap they do not want on the curbside. Sometimes its taken, but often times, the bag’s are opened and the contents are scattered all over the street. Then the rain, the wind, take it all further along. Animals gnaw through and contents get dirty.

    I ask also, if a person wants only half the stuff, are they going to carry the whole bag along with them? I doubt it. Not here in the USA. Perhaps it’s different in your big cities.

    I feel efforts need to be in place to easily recycle and donate, but leaving it in a plastic bag on the curb somewhere is laziness that will ultimately pose countless environmental problems.

  • Danyel

    In my area, people post ads on CL for free items on the curb. It works great. We’ve put out lots of things and they’ve all been picked up within 24 hours. We have a rule that if it doesn’t go by X day, we’ll take it over to a thrift store. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

  • gotalighter4

    All this discarding unwanted items would pop up on local flea markets being sold by those who already pick up metal and other stuff on bulk rubbish pickup day.