Fifth Avenue gets trash cans straight out of ‘The Jetsons’

Fifth Avenue gets trash cans straight out of ‘The Jetsons’
Community Newspaper Group / Laura Gottesdiener

In Park Slope, even the garbage gets a fancy new home.

On Tuesday, the Fifth Avenue Business Improvement District installed six solar-powered, self-compacting trashcans at Bergen Street, Union Street and Fourth Street — plus additional “Big Belly” units on Ninth Street and 13th Street.

The recepticals cost $3,000 and hold three to five times more trash than a regular city-issued pail. They have a built-in compactor that is activated by internal sensors when the trash piles up.

Oscar the Grouch isn’t the only fan. Local business owners especially like the cans because it will help eliminate garbage that blows in front of their shop, resulting in tickets.

“It’s an excellent idea,” said Linda Bugliese, co-owner of Bagel World at Fourth Street across from Washington (formerly J.J. Byrne) Park. “In the summertime, the streets are so dirty, you can see the trash rolling down the street. You don’t want your community to look like that.”

In addition to cleanliness, the cans also require fewer trash pickups, which reduces Sanitation truck emissions.

“The BID wants to go as green as possible, and these are the best,” said Greg Murjani, the legendary Mr. Rubbish, who extolled the numerous benefits of Big Belly as he installed the cans across Park Slope on Tuesday.

But not everyone is impressed by the Jetsonian measures.

“Did you ever look at what the public puts into these baskets?” said Harry Nespoli, President of the Uniformed Sanitationmen’s Association. “They put in car batteries, large cardboard boxes, all kinds of stuff. I don’t think the compactor will make any difference.”

The Sanitation Department agreed that a Big Belly is no substitute for the brawn of a human.

“Big Belly does not eliminate the essential function of the Sanitation Worker, as the BIDs must empty the compactor and leave the bagged litter out for DSNY collection,” said Sanitation spokesman Matt LiPani.

Yet, if the cans do work, five times more space in the can could mean five times fewer Sanitation pickups — a cost-cutting measure that sets up a battle between the $3,000 compactors and senior Sanitation workers, who make $67,141.

At least, for now.