Just over a dozen schools in Harlem have received trash containers to prevent rodents from diving into loose trash piles.
The effort to install rat-proof trash containers was led by Council Member Shaun Abreu (D-7), who announced his efforts to “start containerizing our trash” on the X social media platform, formerly known as Twitter.
The containers, color-coded for different types of waste, were recently installed at 14 schools across Harlem and will be installed along 10 residential blocks in West Harlem in early September, according to Milo Gringlas, who directs communications and public engagement for Abreu.
The placement of the residential containers is being determined by the city’s sanitation department based on residential typologies — such as brownstones, larger apartments, and walkups — as well as uncomplicated blocks from streetscape perspective and 311 service request calls about rodents, Gringlas told amNewYork Metro.
The residential blocks will be receiving the same trash containers, but the specifics are not yet available from Abreu’s office.
New York City schools generate more than 40,000 tons of trash every year, according to the city’s zero waste schools guide.
According to Aubreu’s office, the Council Member had heard from administrators and parents “who hated watching their kids walk past a bunch of trash on their way to and from school.”
The sanitation department will clean and monitor all of the trash containers on a regular basis.
Abreu worked closely with the Department of Sanitation Commissioner Jessica Tisch to “make sure schools were prioritized in this pilot, so educators can manage their students rather than manage trash clean-up.”
“This project has been many months in the making,” Abreu had tweeted in May. “Thank you to every resident that helped us understand the problem. And thank you to Commissioner Tisch for visiting the district, taking my calls, and responding to the people. First District 7, then the whole damn city!”
The Harlem schools that have new rat-proof trash containers are:
- P.S./I.S. 210 Twenty-first Century Academy for Community Leadership
- P.S. 138M District 75
- P.S. 161 Pedro Albizu Campos
- New Design Middle School
- P.S. 153 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Elementary School
- P.S. 192 Jacob H. Schiff School
- A. Philip Randolph Campus High School
- M286 Urban Assembly Academy for Future Leaders
- Teachers College Community College
- P.S. 036 Margaret Douglas
- P.S. 092 Mary McLeod Bethune
- P.S. 129 John H. Finley
- The Mott Hall School
- Success Academy Harlem North West
Earlier this year in May, Abreu tweeted that people “tweeted at me, called my office, pulled me aside on the streets, and sent me some of the most disgusting pictures I’ve ever seen.” He announced that “we’re going to start containerizing our trash.”
The council member announced that he would start with schools and then move on to residential blocks.
“The school element is particularly important to me, and not only because of the amount of trash they produce,” Abreu stated. “For too long we’ve asked our educators to carve out time to deal with trash management. We’re going to free them up to focus on what they do best: teach.”