The Zero Waste Cart appeared in San Francisco’s Market Street Prototyping Festival and serves as a community textile recycling and mending solution to deter garments from landfills. Currently, there are two billion pounds of garments in the landfills. Per person 80 pounds of textiles are disposed. Our current garment life structure is no longer sustainable. Donation centers can no longer support our consumption. Our rate of consumption is faster than our rate of sustainable disposal.
The Zero Waste cart offers mending workshops to those who want to learn how to patch up garments that are normally turned away by tailors and seamstresses such as mending zippers, buttons, rips, etc. The cart also functions as a textile recycling center, a place for people to donate or take garments that would have otherwise end up in the landfills due to the lack of space of already established donation centers.
Step 1: Materials and Tools
(2) 3-in locking swivel casters rollers
(8) bolt screws for casters
(2) 20” diameter rubber tires
(1) 3/4” diameter and 35” round rigged bar for tires
(4) 3/4" steel standard hex nut
(4) 2x4 cut dimensions for box fixed support: 1-1/2” x 3-1/2” x 21”
(8) 2x4 cut dimensions for frame rail: 1-1/2” x 3-1/2” x 21”
(2) 29 x 29 1/2" front and back
(3) 29 x 33” for side with the handle, top and bottom of the cart
(2) 2x2 x 44” lumber for rack 1 2 in. x 2 in. x 28 in hardwood round dowel
(1) 2x2 x 20 in. hardwood round dowel
(2) 2x2 x 4in lumber for handles
discarded, second hand, gently used, unsoiled clothes
sander with sand paper
a pack of 3 inch screws
4 trigger clamps
protective eye goggles
Step 2: Design
The community recycling stand in Zero Waste Cart is designed to be accessible and mobile. The stand portion of the cart has two racks, one at the top base and the other that functions as a handle to push the cart. The box rack frame functions as storage for other clothes, hangers, etc.
This mock-up was designed using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.
Design Captain: Marc Pembroke, Central Market Prototype Team
Step 3: Fabrication
I would recommend obtaining full access to a woodshop that has a bandsaw, tablesaw, and circular saw to be able to cut wood intricately.
Recycled wood such as pallets are recommended if you are looking to save money.
Sanders are very useful in cleaning up recycled wood.
Start by cutting the (3) 29 x 33” for side with the handle, top and bottom of the cart.
- Then use four out of the (8) 2x4 cut dimensions for frame rail: 1-1/2” x 3-1/2” x 21” and build a frame by them screwing to one 29 x 33". This will be the bottom of the cart.
Take (4) 2x4 cut dimensions for box fixed support: 1-1/2” x 3-1/2” x 21” and attach them to the bottom.
- Use the rest of the 2x4 cut dimensions for frame rail: 1-1/2” x 3-1/2” x 21” and attach them to the fixed support.
- Feel free to use the wood glue as needed and clean edges with a wet sponge.
Flip the box upside down and attach the (2) 3-in locking swivel casters rollers at the front end of the box with (8) bolt screws for casters - four for each caster.
- Flip the box up right and balance it out by wedging scrap wood to stabilize the box.
- Take (2) 29 x 29 1/2" pieces of wood for the front and back of the cart. Attach them to the fixed support.
- Use a power drill with a switchblade to cut out the shape for the (1) 3/4” diameter and 35” round rigged bar for tires.
In tandem with putting the rigged bar, strategically place the (4) 3/4" steel standard hex nuts to fasten the bar tightly. Right after pulling the rigged bar through the front of the cart - place two hex nuts to fasten to the front followed by the back of the cart inside. After pulling the rigged bar through the front of the back, secure the wheels on both sides and place the other two hex nuts one on each side of the wheels wedging the wheel in between the exterior of the box and the nut.
Take the (2) 29 x 33” and use one for the side for the handle and the other for the top of the box.
- Before attaching the side for the handle. Attach the (2) 2x2 x 4in lumber for handles and (1) 2x2 x 20 in. hardwood round dowel together to create a handle. Use a power drill with a switchblade to cut out the shape for the round dowel and wedge in the dowel between the (2) 2x2 x 4in lumber.
- Screw the handle to one of the 29 x 33” wooden panels.
- Attach the panel with the handle to the side of the box.
- Before attaching the top of the box, use a power drill with a switchblade to cut out the shape for the rack to go through.
- Attach the top to the box.
Proceed to create the rack with (2) 2x2 x 44” lumber. Use a power drill with a switchblade to cut out the shape for the (1) 2 in. x 2 in. x 28 in hardwood round dowel and wedge in the dowel between the (2) 2x2 x 44in lumber.
Place the rack in the wedges you created on the top of the box. Use screws to attach.
Hang the clothes and voila you have a cart!
If you would like to have a closed box storage take a 29 x 33” piece of wood and attach it to the opening. Use a 2 inch hinge with a removable pin to open and close the box and use it for storage space.
Step 4: Installation
Have a friend help you fix the cart in your car. CR-V or Truck recommended.
Use a moving blanket to prevent scratches. Can fit it whole - just without the rack attached.
Do not leave out overnight or if you are fine with it lock the casters and hope the cart is still there in the morning, the following day, and the next day after that.
Step 5: Interaction
The Zero Waste Cart was displayed on Market Street for three days from the hours of 11am - 7pm. The people who engaged with the cart were very diverse. Most people came with inquires about the cart and it's purpose. Others were very excited about the idea, looked through the garments and found something that fit their personalities, aesthetics and/or utilitarian needs. Some individuals traded something they were wearing with something they liked from the cart. A few others who passed by the previous day returned to donate clothes from their closets.
I really enjoyed the genuine shock and appreciation people felt when they heard that the garments on the rack were free. Not only did I feel like the project was giving back to the community, but the people were giving back as well. There were moments when my team wasn't attending the cart, instead we sat across from it. This allowed us to examine how people would engage with the cart without a representative activating the space for them. Without anyone there to witness, individuals left their own clothing in replacement of the one they took from the rack. I felt like this almost exemplified that the people that need this sort of community donation based site are the ones that would honestly engage in it.
I started out with 40 pounds of clothing that I found that were going to be thrown away or donated. Some of them still had tags, but most of them were gently worn garments. By the end of the three days, my cart was empty! 40 pounds of garments found new homes and were prevented from going to the landfills. On average each person sends about 80 pounds of textile waster per year to the landfills. Within three days, I was able to deter half the amount and serendipitously found new homes for them.