Today’s news:

Fewer trash cans means less trashy streets?

The Brooklyn Paper

There’s trash everywhere in Bay Ridge, and soon there won’t be a place to put it.

After watching garbage overflow from trashcans and litter the sidewalks, Community Board 10 voted last month to remove some of the neighborhood’s public garbage cans in hopes of curbing the waste problem.

The seemingly counter-intuitive plan to remove trashcans from litter-ridden streets is grounded in observation, according to CB10 environmental committee chair Greg Ahl, a Bay Ridge business owner who witnessed the filthy corner of 69th Street and Fourth Avenue turn spotless when an often-overflowing garbage can went missing for about three weeks.

That incident inspired Ahl to push for a pilot program to remove all of the trashcans from a Bay Ridge corner this spring in hopes of lessening the amount of litter that overflows onto sidewalks. The corner has not yet been selected.

“If cleaner corners don’t have cans, maybe we should get rid of the cans,” said Ahl, who believes that trash receptacles overflow because neighbors and businesses use them to dump household and commercial waste.

But some Bay Ridge residents doubt that removing trashcans will squash the litterbugs.

“People aren’t going to store their trash with them until they get home — they’re just going to drop it on the street,” said Eileen Gottlieb. “Getting rid of trash cans to solve the neighborhood’s trash problem seems somewhat counterproductive, doesn’t it?”

This isn’t the first time that a southern Brooklyn neighborhood has pondered whether the trash comes before the can.

Bensonhurst’s Community Board 11 has removed public trashcans from locations including the corner of Bay Parkway and Bath Avenue.

“There has been an improvement,” said CB11 district manager Marnee Elias-Pavia. “At locations with businesses on the bottom floors and residences on the top floors, the cans overflow and blow all over and make the streets dirty. When you get rid of the cans, that’s not a problem anymore.”

The Department of Sanitation did not respond to repeated calls by The Brooklyn Paper to determine whether it would heed CB10’s request to remove the cans, and whether the removal of garbage cans is actually an effective means of combating litter.

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Reader Feedback

JackQ from Bay Ridge says:
Uh - the garbage will just get slopped into and around neighbors' cans, so they'll get ticketed. But hey, if it's good for business ...

My suggestions for CB 10: To end gripes about crowded & late buses, parking tickets, and rowdy high-schoolers: Ban buses, cars, and kids!
Feb. 1, 2009, 4:13 am
Michael from Bay Ridge says:
Has anyone begun to question why this is and where the trash ends up?
If you remove trashcans it doesn't decrease the amount of trash that people make.

I really don't why there is less trash on the streets if there are fewer cans, but the trash must be going somewhere.

Maybe more regular collection of the trash would be a smart idea.
Or trash cans which compress their contents automatically....
Feb. 3, 2009, 11:31 am
levon from b ridge says:
Michael from Bay Ridge says: "Has anyone begun to question why this is and where the trash ends up?"

(1) Other people's cans ... b/c people toss their trash in house/apartment cans on sidestreets near 3rd/4th/5th avenues - creating a mess, esp. if they pitch drippy gunk or dog poop into a can. Or they toss it on top of bagged house/apt trash awaiting sanit pickup.

Those homeowners/supers can't patrol the trash 24/7, and not everyone has space to hide their trashcans. So they get summonses if the public's stuff blows around or spills over or if a bunch of recyclables end up in regular (nonrecyclable) trash.

I guess the CB people must live far from those avenues, in houses with big lawns or generous front/side space, so they can hide their trashcans from the public.

(2) Other businesses get stuck with some of it - like: food garbage lands in ATM cans and store dumpsters, or people unload bought-elsewhere garbage into outdoor 7-11 and pizza place cans.

(3) Some goes into the next available public can, so _that_ area gets overtrashed. Or it gets pitched into less-trafficked or more "industrial" sidestreets, parking lots, whatever.

B/c you're right - can-removal doesn't decrease trash-production.
Feb. 4, 2009, 2:54 am
San Worker from Bayridge says:
The truth is that less cans do not create less garbage. Less cans will mean more summonses and greater over flow into other garbage cans and dumpsters.

What CB10 needs to do is petition to have more sanitation department trucks servicing the baskets more frequently then they are currently doing it.

Most of the money for the cleaning, facilitating and maintenance of the corner litter cans comes from Federal money and with the budget cuts coming through the pipeline you may not be able to get any more money for this so a local BID, with workers who can maintain these cans is another alternative.
Feb. 13, 2009, 12:08 pm

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