Today, a distinctly Dutch spin on curbside freecycling — the act of placing unwanted furniture and household junk outside of your home on a non-regularly scheduled trash pickup day in hopes that a random passerby will take a liking to and rescue it from landfill-dom — involving see-through garbage bags that are designed specifically for scavenging and salvaging. In other words, the bags are a smart and civilized alternative to
tossing placing household refuse on the curb with a handwritten “Please take me! I’m free!” note affixed.
Called Goedzak, this “special garbage bag” that’s gussied up with a bright, attention-grabbig yellow stripe is the creation of Simon Akkaya of do-gooding Amterdam design studio WaarMakers (apparently, the word Goedzak is Dutch for “do-gooder” and it also combines the Dutch words for “good” and “bag”). Akkaya explains the purpose of his “sustainable behavior”-stimulating rubbish bag:
Whether it’s that purple vase your sister-in-law got you, or that particular coffee-pad-loving coffeemachine (you know the one) that’s been lying in the basement for ages; everybody owns items that are no longer of value to them. Every now and then we throw out these items, while they still might be of value and/or useful to others. These items disappear in grey garbage bags and end up on trash piles. Goedzak offers these items a second chance. Goedzak stimulates people to dispose of their products in a more conscious and sustainable way. Goedzak can extend the products’ lifetime.
Love it. It’s a shame that Akkaya hasn’t yet created a jumbo-sized version of the Goedzak for large appliances. However, for cast-off coffee machines, vases, books, knick-knacks, and the like, it appears to do the trick.
I should also note that in a departure from the curbside giveaway culture in cities like Brooklyn, a goodie-filled Goedzak is meant to be placed out on regularly scheduled trash pick-up days and not on off days. In turn, it complies with any existing sanitation department rules while keep its contents clean, dry, and bird poop-free. And if passersby ultimately decide to pass on the on-display contents of the bag, it still gets hauled away with the trash.
Although Akkaya hasn’t found a Dutch municipality to partner with in bringing Goedzak to the masses, he is working with a chain of secondhand stores in Amsterdam on a pilot program. He explains to Co.Exist: "They will pick up the bags and put the usable goods in their stores. The rest is sorted and/or recycled.”
Would you ever employ a Goedzak after a round of household purging? Or would you rather just cart unwanted but usable household crap to the Goodwill or another charity stop instead of risk having it be thrown away if no one decides to pluck it from the streets?