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Central Park

New York, NY

Studio 431 Custom Elements:

Custom Litters & Recycling Units

Design Partners:


It started with a walk in the park. Alcoa CEO, Klaus Kleinfeld, offered his host, Central Park Conservancy’s CEO, Doug Blonsky, an Alcoa grant to develop a sustainable, custom designed receptacle to advance the park’s environmental stewardship program.

Landor designed the three-unit system and the branding and signage that support it. Inspired by the classic 1930s Central Park bench, the design re-envisions hooped arms and seat slats for a new purpose. Receptacles are identical in size and shape, different in color and the size of top openings: gray with blue around the aperture for cans and bottles, “conservancy” green for paper, and tan for waste.

“We wanted the design to relate to the Olmsted environment and to be vernacular but also modern,” shares Anthony Deen, Creative Director for Environments and Experiences, Landor. “The form is derived from the classic Central Park bench and the hoops and slats of traditional barrel making."

"The Studio 431 team looked at the design and immediately knew how we wanted to build it.”

– Anthony Deen, Creative Director for Environments and Experiences, Landor

Made of 30% recycled material and 100% recyclable, the units have a hinged top and hold a plastic bag, making them easy for park workers to empty and transport. Studio 431 engineered, developed and manufactured the custom receptacles, working closely with Landor and the Conservancy throughout the process. And what started as a walk has turned into a victory lap. Central Park removes about 2,000 tons of trash and 58 tons of recyclables annually. With the extended system of receptacles it reports fewer pests and fewer vehicles on paths. And using a greater number of recycling units placed in smarter locations has resulted in a 30% increase in recyclables collected.

“This is the latest step in a 20-year effort by the Conservancy to improve waste management in Central Park and it is attracting a lot of positive attention," explains Frank LoCastro, Vice President for Operations Management, Central Park Conservancy. "It is important for our brand, it is environmentally responsible, and it is good management practice.”

The receptacles are keeping tons of recyclable material out of landfill, helping to streamline the waste management process, and enhancing cleanliness and convenience for 40 million annual park visitors. The design has won multiple awards, including a coveted Cannes Lion, and, in partnership with the Conservancy, Landscape Forms is now proud to offer the Conservancy Recycling System as a standard product.