BetterBin competition names finalists for trash can design

The three finalists were chosen from almost 200 entries submitted by designers from across the globe.

New York City’s trash cans are getting a little more stylish.

The city’s Sanitation Department announced on Tuesday three finalists of its BetterBin competition, which challenged designers to create new versions of the city’s wire baskets.

The sleek new designs were selected from almost 200 entries from all over the world.

“While residents and visitors may be familiar with the iconic green city litter basket, there is no shortage of fresh new ideas to modernize and reinvent it for the future,” Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia said in a statement. “We look forward to testing the prototypes in 2019.”

The winners — Group Project (Colin P. Kelly), IONDESIGN GmbH Berlin, and Smart Design — will get one more chance to tweak their designs. Each of the finalists received $40,000 to produce 12 of their baskets, which will hit city streets next summer.

Garcia said the current bin design dates to the 1930s, and while it has remained a reliable workhorse the city wanted to explore new ideas. There are currently about 23,000 litter baskets across the city.

Members of the public as well as sanitation workers can voice their opinions of the new basket designs during the test period via a public opinion survey. Judges will select a finalist after the trial run.

The contest is a joint venture among the Sanitation Department, the Van Alen Institute, and the Industrial Designers Society of America / American Institute of Architects New York.

“The finalists of the BetterBin competition have proposed innovative, functional and attractive designs that have taken something as mundane as a sidewalk litter bin and turned it into an element of urban design that enhances NYC’s streetscape,” Benjamin Prosky, executive director of the AIA New York chapter, said in a statement. “At a time when the city is increasing its recycling and composting efforts, and has set a goal to drastically reduce waste, it is important to draw attention to how and where we dispose of our waste.”

Lisa L. Colangelo