NYC plans to fight rat problem by limiting hours trash bags can sit on streets

NYC plans to fight rat problem by limiting hours trash bags can sit on streets

The Department of Sanitation wants buildings and businesses to put their garbage bags out later in the evening as part of an effort to trash the city’s rat problem, The Post has learned.

The DSNY is planning to require that refuse bags be put out on sidewalks starting at 8 p.m. — which is four hours later than the current 4 p.m. garbage time.

The only exception will be trash that is stored in a can or bin, which will be allowed to be put out at 6 p.m., under the proposed rules.

“New Yorkers put millions of pounds of trash and recycling on the street starting at 4 PM – right as the evening rush is getting underway – and then it stays out, serving as a nightclub for rats and other pests, until it’s collected. Well soon, we’re going to try to shut the club down,” DSNY spokesman Joshua Goodman told The Post.

In light of the later time for garbage to be put out, the DSNY will be having more garbage picked up on the midnight shift, sources said.

The Big Apple’s current 4 p.m. set-out time for trash bags without a container requirement is the earliest deadline compared to other major cities’ requirements – including Boston, Philadelphia and Los Angeles.

The Department of Sanitation is planning to require businesses and buildings to put out their trash bags starting at 8 p.m. instead of 4 p.m. in order to solve New York City’s rat problem.
Helayne Seidman

The rule change itself could take up to six months as the approval process requires DSNY to submit draft regulations to the City Record. A public comment period would then follow ahead of the final greenlight.

“Clean streets are essential to the City’s recovery, and between these changes and our five-borough containerization pilot, we’re lathering up to shave New York’s 5:00 shadow of trash bags,” said Goodman.

Goodman also said the idea came straight from the top – Mayor Eric Adams and DSNY Commissioner Jessica Tisch – and Tisch has been busy pitching the idea to the business community. 

She had a private meeting with members of the Real Estate Board of New York Wednesday afternoon to go over the plan. 

NYC trash
The only exception to the garbage time change would be if the trash is stored in a can or bin. If so, it could be put out at 6 p.m. under the proposed rules.
Paul Martinka

But over the last several months, DSNY started picking up more trash on the midnight to 8 a.m. shift. 

That accounts for five million pounds of trash and recycling scooped up under cover of darkness, compared to the same amount that was collected between 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. before the shift. 

That’s out of the 24 million pounds that trucks pick up daily, according to DSNY.

New Yorkers have been complaining about smelly streets. Records show calls to 311 reveal that outdoor odor complaints are at an all-time high after rising 54 percent — to 5,746 through June 30.

NYC trash
Outdoor odor complaints in New York City are frequent and have risen 54 percent through June 30.
Paul Martinka

Eugene Wilson, 55, owner of Manhattan restaurant “Pig N’ Whistle” at 58 West 48th St., told The Post he liked the idea.

“I’ve been here at this location 30 years and I can tell you the later the bags go out, the better! The smell on the street in the summer effects the whole block. And believe me, it’s not conducive to enjoying outdoor dining. People don’t need to be seeing it or smelling it on their commute home. 

“If they’re closing earlier I understand but food waste, it really should be later. We put it out at midnight but some of the other guys on the block put it out at 4 or 5.”

But not everyone cheered the proposal.

NYC trash
Some business owners have issues with the proposal because of staffing issues, a lack of bins and sanitary issues.
Robert Miller

“We don’t use bins and it would still be the same staffing issue so, it doesn’t matter. Won’t work for us,” Tim Flynn, 31, superintendent of The Delegate condo building on 301 E 45th Street, told The Post.

“We can’t wait until 8 o’clock?! We don’t have people to do that! The doorman is the only one here after 4 and he’s gotta stay on the door.  This will be a sanitary issue. No trash is kept in a air conditioned room.”

The city’s record-busting $101 billion budget allocated $22 million in new funding for rat-proof trash bins earlier this year and DSNY returned to five day a week street cleaning on July 5.

It’s a restoration of funds after ex-Mayor Bill de Blasio slashed the department’s budget during the COVID-19 crisis, which led to an overflow of complaints about city litter baskets.

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