Smart Design on redesigning NYC’s iconic trash can


Dan Grossman tells Core77 that NYC’s trash cans aren’t for every New Yorker.

Director of Industrial Design at Smart, Dan Grossman doesn’t consider himself the end-user of the public trash can. That distinction belongs to the DSNY sanitation workers who tirelessly empty them to keep our city clean. When designing Smart’s BetterBin prototype, the ultimate goal was to improve the physical experience for sanitation workers who service the bins hundreds of times a day. 

“One of the biggest challenges that a sanitation worker has while servicing a trash can is the weight; these cans can get extremely heavy when they’re full. They’re about 30 pounds-plus when they’re empty, so you can imagine the daily [demands]. Having to lift 30 to 100 pounds every other block is extremely strenuous, and that’s what leads to a lot of injuries on the job.”

So we sought to understand: “How can we improve the actual physical experience of a sanitation worker servicing the bin?”

Check out the full story on Core77 to see never-before-shared photos on the process and learn how the needs of sanitation workers impacted every design decision we made for our BetterBin.

Jul 2019