Do you ever walk by a trash can and think, “I can do better”? Here’s your chance.
The New York City Sanitation Department is holding a contest to design a new and improved litter basket for the city’s sidewalks. The 23,000 wire mesh containers in the Big Apple may look fine, at least when they’re not overflowing. But the design dates from the 1930s, and the sanitation sages think we can do better.
“The response has been astonishing,” Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia said.
Not just any garbage can will do. The department issued a list of guidelines, including durability, ease of emptying and aesthetic quality. The trash bin of the future should also “minimize access for rodents” and “discourage improper use of litter baskets.”
The city calculates that the trash bins account for less than 2 percent of its total garbage volume, but hopes the new design will contribute to attitudes and actions that will help achieve its goal of sending zero waste to landfills by 2030.
The deadline is September 20. Judges will choose three finalists, who’ll each receive $40,000 to build prototypes before a winner is declared next summer. For more details and how to submit your proposal, click here.
At a recent open house to promote the contest, the department showed off some previous ideas for newfangled bins, including “Lively Louie,” who would thank you when you fed him some trash. It also gave designers to chance to get advice from sanitation workers, who will be hoisting and emptying the bins for decades to come.
Field supervisor Justin McNeil opined that, like the current mesh bins, visibility is a key factor.
“You never really know what’s inside of these things,” he said.