All New York City businesses must put their trash in solid containers with lids starting in March of next year, Mayor Eric Adams announced on Tuesday.
The move will expand the city’s trash containerization mandate beyond food service businesses and large chains, which started having to dispose of garbage in solid receptacles this month.
Each day, the new rule will see 20 million pounds of commercial trash diverted from black bags left on the side of the road, where rats can easily make a feast, to solid containers with lids that keep the pests out, the mayor’s office says. The move is part of the ongoing War on Rats spurred by the mayor, who has made no secret of his feelings toward the rodents.
“We’ve declared that rats are Public Enemy Number One — but we’re not stopping there; we’re also going after the black trash bags that litter our streets, aiding and abetting rodents,” said Hizzoner. “That’s 20 million pounds of black bags and rat buffets off our streets — every single day. Our streets will look cleaner and smell cleaner across all five boroughs, and New Yorkers won’t have to dodge trash mountains or scurrying rats as they’re walking.”
Those businesses not in compliance can face a fine of $50 for initial violations, rising to $100 for a second and $200 for each additional fine.
The move is the latest in a rapid series of policies by the Adams Administration to containerize the city’s trash, and the mayor says that come March, half of the city’s waste will be set out in containers.
“Taking away rats’ access to food is paramount to sustained rat mitigation,” said the mayor’s ‘Rat Czar’ Kathleen Corradi. “The leadership from DSNY to ‘Get Stuff Clean’ and the rules to containerize waste are integral to a rat-free New York City!”
This month, the city started enforcing a rule requiring all food service businesses to put their trash out in containers, with the law also applying to any chain business with five or more locations, no matter what they sell. The city handed out over 20,000 warnings to local businesses before fines started being issued.
The city is also conducting a pilot for residential trash containerization, with receptacles placed along West Harlem residential blocks and schools.
The Department of Sanitation intends to replace 20,000 mesh trash cans on city streets with a new design sporting a concrete base and, crucially, a lid. And by the end of next year, all five boroughs will have organic compost collected separately by New York’s Strongest.
For decades, New York has lagged behind comparable world cities in waste management, with mountains of black bags on the side of the road serving as a cornucopia for the Big Apple’s rats even as other metropolises creatively embraced containers.