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Talking Trash: NYC Unveils New Sleek Model For 23,000 Garbage Bins That Are 20 Pounds Lighter

More than 23,000 new, sleeker trash cans will be installed throughout New York City. Photo Credit: NYC Sanitation
More than 23,000 new, sleeker trash cans will be installed throughout New York City. Photo Credit: Group Project

A winner has been chosen to build a bigger, better trash bin that will be lighter and sleeker than the iconic green mesh cans that have become staples throughout New York City.

Brooklyn-based Group Project was chosen as the victors of the “Better Bin” competition by the Sanitation Department following a 90-day test of prototypes. They will now be enlisted to install more than 23,000 new trash bins throughout New York City.

The winning design includes a lightweight and recyclable liner that is installed in a durable stand that was designed to “blend in across all New York City neighborhoods.”

There will be separate bins for trash and recycling. Each will cost approximately $175 to produce. They will reportedly have a lifespan of approximately three years.

It is estimated that the bins are approximately 50 percent lighter than their predecessor, which will help sanitation workers in the city. When the plastic inner liner wears out, it is also recyclable.

“Good design goes beyond beauty to solve problems and help our city function,” judging panel member Keri Butler, Deputy Executive Director of the Public Design Commission, said. “By collaborating with design professionals on the BetterBin competition, the Department of Sanitation has made a commendable commitment to serve both the public and sanitation workers through innovative, attractive, and functional design.”

The competition saw more than 200 designs from companies throughout the world. Those were then trimmed down to two finalists who produced a dozen prototypes that were put through a 90-day street test. The winner was chosen based on how the prototypes stood up during testing, public comments, and feedback the Sanitation Department received during the same testing period, including from its employees.

“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.

The new trash bins are expected to be installed as soon as this month along Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, replacing the green mesh bins, which were installed in the 1930s.

"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 stated. "This is a truly innovative approach, designed for the unique needs of our workforce."

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