Group Project is the Winner of the BetterBin NYC Competition

Dec 6 2019 - 11:52am


The Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA), in partnership with the New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY), the Van Alen Institute and the American Insitute of Architects (AIA) New York, is honored to announce that the Brooklyn-based design team Group Project has been named the winner of DSNY's BetterBin Competition

Source: Group Project

The winning design consists of a lightweight, recyclable liner that is nested within a durable stand, designed to blend in across all of NYC's neighborhoods. The design received positive feedback from both sanitation workers and the public for its sleek aesthetic, bold recycling messaging and significant ergonomic improvements. The interior liner is nearly 50% lighter than the current wire mesh basket, making it easier for sanitation workers to service. The liner also features eight comfortable grips for proper lifting, compared to only two on the current basket.

“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,” said DSNY Commissioner Kathryn Garcia. “This is a truly innovative approach, designed for the unique needs of our workforce. We commend the Group Project team for their creativity and look forward to working together to refine the design for large-scale production.”

Group Project's lighter, sleeker and more sustainable bins will soon begin replacing the more than 23,000 wire baskets that currently dot the city's streets, according to the New York Times. The old wire cans weigh 32 pounds each and can reach about 80 pounds when full, said Group Project designer Brit Kleinman. An empty Group Project basket weighs 12 pounds, meaning the re-design will save sanitation workers up to 4,500 pounds per shift. 

Group Project's interdisciplinary team (Kleinman, Brandon Massey, Chris Glaister and design lead Colin P. Kelly) will continue to work with the City for further design development, to both ensure the ability to mass produce the basket and make adjustments based on feedback received during the testing period.

Source: New York City Department of Sanitation 

Two hundred design groups submitted to BetterBin NYC upon the competition's launch in summer 2018, all aiming to refresh the the City's iconic green, wire mesh litter mes that have remained largely unchanged since the 1930s. Two finalist teams, Group Project and Smart Design, each produced 12 full-size prototype baskets that were tested in Manhattan, Queens and the Bronx over a 90-day period in summer 2019. 

The judging panel, which included Vijay Chakravarthy, IDSA , selected the winner based on prototype performance, public response and feedback from DSNY sanitation workers. Chris Parke, IDSA and Warren Ginn, FIDSA served on the competition's Technical Advisory Board, which advised the jury on the bins' manufacturing feasability.

“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 Chakravarthy.

Congratulations to the team at Group Project for successfully taking on this multidimensional challenge. The competition also left the judges with a unique sense of appreciation for the service rendered by DSNY.”

“IDSA would like to congratulate the Group Project team on their success in the BetterBin Competition and for typifying what great industrial design can be: an elegant solution to a complex challenge and the perfect balance of needs and constraints. We’re looking forward to seeing these bins hit the streets,” said Peter Schon, Chair, IDSA NYC.

We’d also like to express our deep gratitude to the Department of Sanitation for the opportunity to collaborate on this project, and hope to continue to find ways to bring great design to New York City in the future.”