NYC will limit how long trash can sit on streets, aims to combat rat infestation and record odor complaints

In an effort to combat the scourge of rats in the Big Apple, the New York Department of Sanitation (DSNY) plans to require that trash bags be put outside starting at 8 pm instead of 4 pm in the hopes that fours hours of cleaner sidewalks will discourage the long-tailed rodents from pillaging the rubbish.

An exception for trash that is secured in bins or cans will allow residents to place their refuse on sidewalks beginning at 6 pm.

“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 New York Post.

As it stands now, New York has an earlier start time for trash placement without a container when compared to other large cities like Boston, Philadelphia and Los Angeles. If implemented, the rule change will require more workers on the midnight shift for waste collection and might take up to six months for a complete transition. Part of that process would involve various DSNY draft proposals to the City Record followed by a period for public input.

“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.

The idea apparently came straight from the top of New York City leadership. Mayor Eric Adams and DSNY Commissioner Jessica Tisch have spearheaded the inititive and Tisch has been pitching the idea to the Real Estate Board of New York and the business community writ large.

New Yorkers have been calling the city’s 311 number in droves to complain about smelly city streets. Records show that outdoor odor complaints have risen 54 percent to an all-time high of 5,746 through June 30, the outlet reported.

Eugene Wilson, owner of Manhattan restaurant “Pig N’ Whistle” on 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,” said the 55-year-old.

“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.”

Not everyone is thrilled by the proposal.

“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, the superintendent of The Delegate condo building told the outlet.

“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 an air conditioned room.”

Twenty-two million of the city’s gargantuan $101 billion budget has been allocated for rat-proof trash bins, and the DSNY resumed a 5-day pickup week following the gutting of the budget during the COVID-19 pandemic under the auspices of ex-mayor and Herman Munster doppelganger Bill de Blasio.

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