Lower Manhattan Poised to Become a New Age Wasteland
Tribeca residents can now say, “we’ve bin better,” thanks to a budget allocation by City Council member Christopher Marte that is bringing dozens of the Department of Sanitation’s new “Better Bins” to Lower Manhattan. The new receptacles consist of a weighted stand and recyclable plastic basket, topped by a bisected lid. Unlike the legacy wire-mesh baskets that the new design will replace, these trash cans (which are larger, but less than half the weight of their predecessors) are resistant to rust, will keep out rodents, and discourage the public from depositing large refuse.
Mr. Marte said that some of the top complaints his office receives are for sanitation issues, “from trash on the streets, to overflowing bins, to rats chewing through the wires and eating garbage.”
“These larger, rat-proof bins will prevent trash overflowing onto the sidewalk, and will take away a major food source for rats,” he said. “The removable parts of the bins will also make it faster for sanitation workers to place the trash in their trucks, speeding up garbage pickup district-wide.”
This is the initial rollout of a design finalized in 2019, when the Department of Sanitation hosted the Better Bin Competition, offering designers an opportunity to reimagine the most ubiquitous form of street furniture in the New York: the City’s tens of thousands of green, wire-mesh litter baskets, which date from the 1930s.
The winner, from industrial designer Colin Kelly at the Brooklyn-based interdisciplinary firm Group Project, is built around a three-part system. The stand, which stays anchored to the street corner, serves as a home base to protect the basket, and is designed to survive heavy winds, along with other hazards of New York streets. The lid serves as a hinge that opens for the removal of the basket, while also keeping refuse in and bulky or household waste out. The modular design allows the Department of Sanitation to swap out the plastic basket, before it’s time to replace the entire receptacle, thereby lowering the overall cost.
For the initial rollout, look for Better Bins along Greenwich Street, at the intersections with Duane, Jay, North Moore, and Laight Streets. “This is just the first wave,” Mr. Marte said. “I look forward to all the outdated trash bins in my district being replaced by Better Bins, and I will continue working with the Department of Sanitation to make sure this happens as soon as possible.”