Curb Alert Improved: A Design To Help Share Useful Household Goods
For city-dwellers in the United States, it's common to see discarded treasures sitting on stoops or at the curb: books, furniture, toys, electronics. If there's much foot traffic on a street, good things will go quickly. It's a system that works fairly well, aided by tools like curb alerts on Craigslist. But it's not always perfect. If trash day coincides with rain or snow, something might get ruined. It's also not always clear whether something still works, or—a frequent worry in New York City—whether it's free of bedbugs.
Dutch designer Simon Akkaya, from Waarmakers, has an interesting new solution for discarded but usable items. Goedzak—which means 'do-gooder' in Dutch, and also happens to cleverly combine the words for 'good' and 'bag'—is a clear bag to be placed out alongside garbage. Akkaya designed the bag as a graduation project from Delft University of Technology. He plans to work with a local chain of secondhand stores to collect the bags and sort the contents for recycling.
In the Netherlands, Akkaya says, usable trash is likely to end up inside a black trash bag, where no one will see it. The clear bags make the items visible, and give them a chance for a second life. Even in other parts of the world, where something might be placed visibly on the curb, a system like this could have value. The bag could possibly become part of an officially sanctioned system for sharing items; in many cities, regulations fine people who place reusable items out on the wrong day, and even sometimes fine the people picking them up. Goedzak might help. The bag also protects whatever's inside, and marks it as something that's intended for reuse. The only catch, perhaps, is making sure the bag itself doesn't end up in the trash.
Images courtesy of Waarmakers