February 23, 2011 / Brooklyn news / Park Slope / The Greatest Story Ever

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

The Brooklyn Paper
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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.

Updated 5:23 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Marisa from Park Slope says:
Big Bellies are gross - you have to touch a dirty handle to use them. It's nasty and makes me consider littering. Please attach bottles of hand sanitizer to each one.
Feb. 23, 2011, 4:14 pm
Mike Curatore from Carroll Gardens says:
I hope the City privatizes sanitation services soon. Enough with all these overpaid, whiny san men. What do we get 3 hours of work out of every 8 hour shift? Bust the union, Bloomy. Remember Boxing Day 2010!
Feb. 23, 2011, 5:12 pm
Kristen V. Brown from Park Slope says:
Get your numbers straight Brooklyn Paper! It was $4000 for new trash cans and $2000 for refurbished. As in this classic story on Park Slope Patch ...
Feb. 25, 2011, 10:37 am
Brenden from Greenpoint says:
Makes a great place to discard any unwanted cats/dogs.
Feb. 26, 2011, 8:51 am
ann from park slope says:
Why are sanitation workers threatened by a better way to keep our streets clean....why do we need the BID to keep the streets clean and not NYC sanitation workers. I still remember the work slow down with the big snow fall. The unions have forgotten their original get fair and safe work situations for it's all about stealing from the taxpayer and getting better benefits then any private workers. This week alone I saw 2 groups of sanitation workers with their engines running but no work happening, arguing with a supervisor about over time and money...why should any worker get a pension at the age of until you're 40 if you can but no money until you're's ridiculous and the taxpayer is suffering for little in return...privatize and see what happens...bring competition back.
March 3, 2011, 2:23 pm

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