clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

NYC’s trash cans are about to get lighter and sleeker

New, 5 comments

The Department of Sanitation has chosen the winner of a competition to reimagine the city’s litter baskets

Several individuals stand around a black and grey trash can in a street corner. Courtesy of NYC Department of Sanitation

NYC’s green trash cans will soon get a facelift.

A year after announcing the finalists of a design competition to reimagine NYC’s trash cans, the Department of Sanitation (DSNY) has revealed the winner.

Group Project, the winning design team, created a lightweight basket—50 percent lighter than the original ones, which makes them easier for sanitation workers to lift—with eight grips for easy lifting, visible recycling messaging, a recyclable liner, and a “durable” stand, DSNY said.

“The winning entry is a great demonstration of how design can improve public services—in this case the worker’s job is made easier, the streetscape is more beautiful, and the unit cost will be low,” Victoria Milne, principal at 6¢ Design, and a judge in the competition, said in a statement.

As part of the BetterBin competition—a partnership between DSNY, the Van Alen Institute, Designers Society of America, and AIA New York—the finalists selected last year each produced 12 full-size prototypes of their basket designs and tested them in three neighborhoods for 90 days this past summer. Then, a panel of judges selected the winner based on feedback from DSNY workers and public input, among other things.

But you won’t see the newly designed trash cans all over the city just yet: Initially, they’ll be placed along Fifth Avenue between 88th and 92nd streets, and the designers will continue to go through a testing period with DSNY and make adjustments as necessary, before mass-producing them.

There are currently 23,000 litter baskets in NYC, with the most widespread design—the ubiquitous wire mesh green baskets—dating back to the 1930s, according to DSNY.