Modular waste bins from the group’s project are distributed throughout New York City

Modular waste bins from the group’s project are distributed throughout New York City

Modular waste bins designed by local industrial design studio Group Projects to be recyclable have begun to help sanitation workers distribute them across New York City’s five boroughs.

This design, dubbed Better Bin, was the winner of the 2018 Department of Sanitation (DSNY) competition, where participants were asked to redesign New York City’s standard green wire mesh receptacles.

Someone throws trash into a gray trash can
Modular waste bins designed by Colin P Kelly of Group Projects are distributed throughout New York City

“The challenge was to create solutions that address the complexities of urban waste management, while balancing functionality with aesthetic appeal,” the team said.

The project group created a trash can with three modular parts; A metal base wraps halfway around a plastic inner “liner” covered by a split lid.

The trash can is made of gray and black plastic
The boxes use a modular three-part design

The studio focused largely on making the trash can lighter and easier to maneuver for sanitation workers, unlike the heavy steel mesh trash cans found throughout New York City.

“(There were) generally a lot of things that had to be improved ergonomically in terms of how they interact with it, how heavy it is — removing sharp edges so they don’t attack sanitation workers, stems and things like that,” Group Project founder Colin P. Kelly said. For Dezeen.

The top of the separate trash can lid
Internal plastic lining makes it lighter for sanitation workers to maneuver

“There were certain requirements to make sure it wouldn’t blow away in 60 mph winds, but it couldn’t be installed on a street corner. Very quickly, we came to the conclusion that something modular was the approach that would help solve all of these things.”

The inner plastic liner reduces payload by about 20 pounds per container, according to the team, while the split lid serves as a handle for workers to disassemble the unit.

The liner, along with various components, is designed to eventually be recycled.

“We did not include any other type of hardware or any other materials that would prevent it from being easily recycled,” Kelly said.

The top of the separate trash can lid
The metal base keeps the box stable on the sidewalk during high-speed winds

Eight additional handles are distributed along the top and bottom edges of the inner baskets, as opposed to the three on the previous design.

“We strongly support the idea that thoughtful design in public spaces enhances urban livability,” the team said.

Someone throws garbage
The design reduces weight by about 20 pounds

“Although a trash can may be viewed as a simple object, its design and placement can profoundly impact the urban experience for both residents and those responsible for its upkeep.”

The Better Bin will be distributed throughout New York City in the coming years, as the green mesh litter bins are slowly retired.

There are currently approximately 300 models spread across the city, with five original prototypes installed in the East Village, which Kelly said have been “traveling all over the city” for the past five years testing.

Other litter box designs include a recent project by startup Mill that dries and shrinks food scraps so they can be reused, and Knectek Labs’ Townew Bin that changes its own bags.

Photography was done by Project Group.

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