What the truck?!? New sanitation trucks leave Bay Ridge streets littered with junk

What the truck?!? New sanitation trucks leave Bay Ridge streets littered with junk
Community News Group / Caroline Spivack

They just can’t get enough junk in the trunk.

The city must rework how it collects large junk from Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights streets because the Department of Sanitation’s new garbage trucks have less space to cram in hulking waste, according to locals.

Mattresses, furniture, and other large items are piling up curbside because the area’s new trucks are split between trash and organics. Now an extra truck swings by occasionally to collect the leftovers, but workers miss items that are then left to fester for weeks. The new procedure is just one big mess, said a community leader.

Sodden sofas: Some furniture is left festering in the elements for weeks if a truck can’t pick up the refuse.
Community News Group / Caroline Spivack

“The problem is the system in place is not effective,” said Josphine Beckmann, district manager of Community Board 10. “We’re getting a ton of complaints about items that have been missed for weeks. Before this, we had no complaints about missed bulk pick up, now we have so many.”

The Department of Sanitation rolled out the so called “dual bin trucks” in October 2016, which are divided into two compartments — one for trash and the other for biodegradables — as part of the city’s organics collection program, where residents haul bins packed with food scraps and yard waste to the curb for pick up, according to a Sanitation spokeswoman.

But the trucks’ split trash compactor means the garbage side fills up faster and makes it more difficult to crunch what the city calls “bulk” items — anything bigger than four feet by three feet — and things get left behind, according to Beckmann. The result is a hodgepodge of junk littering the streets until a truck with the specific purpose of picking up bulk comes by. And that only happens if workers remember to fill out a form logging the rubbish and pass it along to a supervisor, according to an agency spokeswoman.

Ticketable offense: In some cases, the large junk left to rot on Bay Ridge streets even blocks fire hydrants.
Community News Group / Caroline Spivack

From October 2016 to March 2017, 311 logged nearly 300 complaints for missed bulk collection — compared to zero for the same period the year before, according to city data. But tossing a bookcase or a boudoir isn’t an everyday occurrence, so the city doesn’t think locals should be making such a stink, said an agency spokeswoman.

“It’s not every day that you’re throwing out a couch or a mattress,” said Belinda Mager. “Most of the time the dual bin truck will collect everything. Generally a single truck can manage.”

But locals beg to differ, and say the problem is only getting worse, according to one Ridgite who schlepped his mattress to the curb multiple times for pick up — but with no luck.

What the truck?: The city’s new dual-bin trash trucks that collect waste and organics are leaving large junk littering Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights streets.
Department of Sanitation

“I’ve hauled out my mattress twice so far and both times it was ignored,” said Bay Ridgite Gabriel Vaduva, who has lived on Gatling Place for the last six years. “It’s covered up and meets all [the city’s] requirements, but nobody picks it up. And I know I’m not alone — I see sofas and La-Z-Boys all over the place. They better do something, because it’s trash city out here.”

Reach reporter Caroline Spivack at cspivack@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2523. Follow her on Twitter @carolinespivack.