NYC streets are getting a cleaner look with a new “Clean Curbs” pilot program expanding to all five boroughs. Mayor Adams and New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY) Commissioner Jessica S. Tisch announced on Wednesday, April 20th that this new initiative is intended to clean, clear, and keep NYC streets accessible.
The program is introducing NYC’s first-ever containerized waste bins that will keep trash bags off the streets and at one centralized site, taking after cities like Paris and Barcelona that have already implemented public garbage bins. Containerization has been discussed among officials for years now, as trash accumulation remains a common concern for New Yorkers. The Clean Curbs pilot program is finally taking action to manage those concerns and address the city’s waste.
WASTE WEDNESDAY: We’re bringing #CleanCurbs to all five boroughs with waste containerization pilot expansion. They’ll keep trash off our curbs, making our city cleaner and better. #EarthWeek pic.twitter.com/EYRXOrJysv
— NYC Mayor's Office (@NYCMayorsOffice) April 20, 2022
The first bins have been installed in Times Square thanks to the Times Square Alliance; one can be found at 41st Street and 7th Avenue, and the other is at 43rd Street and 8th Avenue.
According to the DSNY, NYC was constructed to operate with maximum real estate available, hence why no back alleys exist for waste collection. As a result, NYC trash collection has taken over the already crowded city streets, leading to pests, sidewalk congestion, and overall poor aesthetics.
“Environmental justice begins at the street level, and it starts now,” said Mayor Adams. “Clean streets are vital to vibrant neighborhoods and to New York City’s economic comeback. We need to stop dodging black garbage bags and instead fund and test container models throughout the city that will make our streets cleaner and more inviting for both New Yorkers and visitors.”
Environmental justice begins on our streets. Keeping them clean is vital to our vibrant neighborhoods and our economic comeback.
— Mayor Eric Adams (@NYCMayor) April 20, 2022
At the moment, many local associations are responsible for handling the waste bins in business improvement districts (BIDs). When these waste bins fill up, new trash bags are then placed beside them for collection. This has only added to the attraction and accessibility of waste to rodents and the amount of litter piling on NYC streets.
The new containerized sealed waste bins will alleviate such clutter, keeping trash bags off the streets and limiting rodent access to waste. Pedestrians will be able to take advantage of more space on city sidewalks as the overall aesthetic of NYC streets will improve.
“Today’s debut of containerized waste bins and expansion of the ‘Clean Curbs’ pilot are important steps that will bring us closer to cleaner streets,” said New York City Councilmember Sandy Nurse, chair, Committee on Sanitation and Solid Waste Management. “As we move forward with expanding containerization, we must prioritize pilots in environmental justice communities and other areas of our city where litter and trash are impacting quality of life, so that all New Yorkers can have the clean streets that we deserve.”
The containerized waste bins are just the first steps in the city’s $1.3 million investment to clean up NYC. The Neighborhood Challenge grant program is also underway to bring innovative waste management initiatives to BIDs and community-based development organizations.
To learn more about these efforts, see here.