Fewer trash cans means less trashy streets?

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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