Some 23,000 public trash cans occupy the street corners of New York’s five boroughs. Many, however, are the decades-old heavy and unwieldy versions with no recycling capabilities. To address the problem, the NYC Department of Sanitation, Van Alen Institute, Industrial Designers Society of America, and AIA New York together launched the BetterBin Competition. The winning model is by Group Project, composed of engineer Chris Glaister, industrial designer Colin P. Kelly, AVO founder Brit Kleinman, and architect Brandon Massey.
After talking with sanitation workers, the foursome determined ergonomics were important, particularly the bin’s weight and maneuverability. Their concept begins with a rigid liner of perforated plastic that is 50 percent lighter than current cans and includes eight grips, versus cans’ typical two. The liner nestles in an aluminum stand with a black or blue flip-top lid, clearly labeled landfill or recycle. The bins can be spotted keeping streets clean on a four-block stretch of the Upper East Side, with plans to expand.
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