Goedzak ("good bag") designs a new approach to reuse

goedzak® by Dutch design firm Waarmakers
© courtesy of Waarmakers

In dutch, goedzak actually translates to "good guy" or "kind soul", but it makes a punny play on the words goed zak for "good bag" as well as goedzaak for a "good thing". Clever naming for a good bag that good guys can use to do good things.

The goedzak combines a bright yellow stripe to catch the eye with a transparent bag, so that the contents are immediately visible to passersby.

Simply leave the goedzak out with the trash. Soon enough, all your reusable cast-offs will have found a new owner. At least that is the idea.

As far as a design to replace curbside gifting goes, the idea has been perfectly executed. As word gets around, the yellow "goedzak" branding will mean no more hand-scribbled signs identifying give-aways, or doubts about whether the person moving their stuff will soon return to find it has been nicked.

The bag will keep reusables clean and tidy, and hopefully discourage the scruple-less antisocial types who prefer to shatter or strew goods on the bike path rather than leave them for others to find. Those who keep an eye out for treasure can easily see if this bag of swag suits their needs.

According to the Maarten Heijltjes, one of the designers:

The 50.000 bags will be used for a pilot project here in the Netherlands, in cooperation with a second hand store franchise. We're starting in one city this summer, and if it proves to be a success (and we have no doubt that it will), it will be implemented in the other 20 Dutch cities where this second hand organization is active.

But is goedzak really a good thing? Is leaving stuff on the curb effective in the era of internet exchanges? Will the transparency mean the best catches go quickly, making a round-up of the bags less attractive to a cooperating second hand store? Will goedzak keep goodies out of the charity boxes that rely on donations of used items? Should designers be trying to replace implementation of an integrated reuse and recycling concept by the municipal authorities responsible for waste disposal?

Proving their merit as big picture thinkers, Waarmakers has already answered some of the questions that came to our minds. Heijltjes reports, "we are working on an app to make the logistics around Goedzak more efficient, and the back-end more sustainable; to use as much as possible of the collected articles as long as possible." This will certainly give goedzak an edge in the comparison with exchange databases.

Goedzak has the user convenience that can even the odds versus a user-friendly municipal collection program -- with the added plus that presumably no taxpayer dollars are needed to keep the system working.

Goedzak probably will reduce the use of charity boxes because, after all, we humans mostly look for the easiest way out that complies with out moral values. So those committed to charity will probably still make the trip to a donation point, while those seeking only to ensure reuse as long as possible will find goedzak to be a handy shortcut.

As the pic above suggests, goedzak was immediately embraced by an "early adopter," but we will only give you the teaser to this funny anecdote. You will have to learn the "rest of the story," as Paul Harvey would say, on the storyboard at Waarmakers/goedzak.

But before you pop over there, let us know your thoughts in the comments: is goedzak a good idea? Would you like to see it adopted in your neighborhood?

Goedzak ("good bag") designs a new approach to reuse
Dutch design firm Waarmakers proposes a new take on an old trick, and gets us pondering the best options for stuff we no longer use.

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