Smart Design’s BetterBin prototypes unveiled


Smart Design unveils litter basket prototypes for the future of NYC sanitation.

The NYC Department of Sanitation, the Industrial Designers Society of America, and the Van Alen Institute, and New York have unveiled prototyped litter baskets produced as part of the BetterBin Competition.

The Competition offered designers an opportunity to reimagine New York City’s iconic mesh litter basket. Smart Design and Group project, finalists in the competition, will place 12 prototypes in select areas on New York City streets for a minimum of 30 days before final judging takes place in New York City.

“Our approach centers on our core belief that design is about people, not things. We immersed ourselves in the realities that both every day New Yorkers and Sanitation Workers face daily. By understanding how the bins were used and serviced, we were able to identify new ways to improve the design, while keeping true to the needs and aesthetics of New York”, says James Krause, Associate Design Director of Smart Design at the press event.

An iconic design that dates back to the 1930s, the New York City Litter basket was in need of a redesign that offered pedestrians and sanitation workers a convenient and reliable way to dispose of trash around the city. New York is home to more than 23,000 litter baskets and Smart Design wanted to have an impact on the future of New York City Sanitation.

The prototypes are being tested along Ninth Avenue in Manhattan between 43rd and 45th streets, along Main Street in Flushing between Maple and Cherry avenues and along Castle Hill Avenue in the Bronx between Newbold and Ellis avenues.

The winning design will be selected by a panel based on performance, public response, and feedback from sanitation workers, and the public is invited to vote for their favorite bin at

Press coverage of the unveiling:

ABC7 Eyewitness News Watch the full unveiling of the prototype litter baskets.

amNY Trash can contest finalists put to the test in Manhattan, the Bronx, and Queens

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