Dezeen Magazine

BetterBin by Group Project

New York City's rubbish bins are redesigned

New York studio Group Project has designed new rubbish bins for New York City streets that include a "sleek aesthetic, bold recycling messaging, and significant ergonomic improvements."

BetterBin by Group Project

The studio's container was chosen as the winner of the BetterBin Litter Basket Competition, hosted by the NYC Department of Sanitation, Van Alen Institute, the Industrial Designers Society of America and the American Institute of Architects New York. The contest asked designers to reimagine the city's iconic green, wire mesh rubbish can.

Group Project's winning scheme features a grey exterior shell perforated with diagonal lines. These attach to a lid that opens up to allow garbage collectors to easily access and pull out an improved wire mesh container that holds the refuse. The interior liner is 50 per cent lighter than that in current trash cans.

BetterBin by Group Project

Eight grips, four on the top and four on the bottom, are adhered to the canister so that it can be lifted from any angle and easily flipped over to dump out its contents.

Colour-coded lids printed with bold white text identify the difference between different waste; landfill refuse is marked by a black lid, while recycling bins are topped with a blue lid.

"The design received positive feedback from both Sanitation Workers and the public for its sleek aesthetic, bold recycling messaging, and significant ergonomic improvements," the studio said.

A panel of nine jury members, including industrial design specialists and sanitation workers, chose the winning design based on prototype performance, public response, and feedback from the Department's Sanitation Workers.

BetterBin by Group Project

"The re-design of this iconic trash bin considers its impact on the lives of the multiple users that interact with the bin – from the hard working DSNY staff that service the bins to the busy residents of NYC and the photo hungry visitors to the city," said judge and industrial designer Vijay Chakravarthy.

"The winning design by the Group Project team demonstrates that design can be a powerful tool to improve working conditions for Sanitation Workers and better engage New Yorkers as our partners to keep the city healthy, safe and clean," Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia added.

BetterBin by Group Project

For the contest, the team of designers produced 12 full-size prototypes that were tested in three New York city neighbourhoods for a 90-day period. Starting in December 2019, Group Project will work with the Department of Sanitation to mass-produce the bins so they can ultimately replace the current green wire mesh ones.

New York's redesign follows other designers that have reimagined bins in an effort to encourage more environmentally friendly practices.

BetterBin by Group Project

Examples include Loughborough University graduate Benjamin Cullis Watson's smell-free rubbish bin that quickly composts food waste by converting it into fertiliser for the garden and household plantsm and a pair of Australian designers who proposed a floating bin for oceans that filters litter from the water.

Photography is by Group Project.