For the second time in three days, Mayor Eric Adams and his newly appointed Department of Sanitation (DSNY) Commissioner Jessica Tisch, announced a new clean streets initiative during Earth Week. During a Times Square press conference Wednesday, Adams unveiled a new $1.3 million “Clean Curbs” waste containerization pilot expansion to commercial districts in all five boroughs as part of ongoing efforts to improve conditions and safety on city streets.
“We’re not here to simply talk trash,” Adams said “Clean streets are vital to vibrant neighborhoods and to New York City’s economic comeback. We need to stop dodging black garbage bags and instead fund and test container models throughout the city that will make our streets cleaner and more inviting for both New Yorkers and visitors.”
The program tests methods for getting garbage bags off the streets, which in turn will reduce the convergence of rodents, improve aesthetics, and take back parts of city streetscape, which are currently overburdened by piles of trash, and will include possible tests in business improvement districts and for both residential and commercial waste.
“Containerization is something that has been talked about for many years, but now we are actually testing what works and what doesn’t in the real world,” Tisch said.”Today’s announcement is a key step in finding ways to take back our streetscape from the mountains of black bags.”
The pilot began in Times Square where new bins are the first example of DSNY’s Clean Curbs Pilot Program and will test sealed containers that hold trash collected from sidewalk litter and nearby litter baskets.
“With 300,000 people once again walking through Times Square, our commitment to clean sidewalks is a priority at Times Square Alliance,” Times Square Alliance President Tom Harris said. “We are thrilled to work with the city to pilot this program here in Times Square and support Mayor Adams’ initiative to bring this to more streets throughout New York City.”
Currently, many litter baskets in BIDs are cared for by the local association, which monitors litter baskets, and, when full, places bags next to baskets for collection, increasing the capacity for the litter baskets at the same time. The new containers will act as a centralized site to hold bags in a sealed atmosphere prior to collection making trash accessible to rodents.
“Today’s debut of containerized waste bins and expansion of the ‘Clean Curbs’ pilot are important steps that will bring us closer to cleaner streets,” Councilwoman Sandy Nurse, Chair of the Committee on Sanitation and Solid Waste Management Committee, said. “As we move forward with expanding containerization, we must prioritize pilots in environmental justice communities and other areas of our city where litter and trash are impacting quality of life so that all New Yorkers can have the clean streets that we deserve.”
The pilot is just one initiative underway in the Clean Curbs program. DSNY and the Department of Small Business Services recently announced the Neighborhood Challenge grant program for BIDs and community-based development organizations to make public space and cleanliness improvements in underserved communities. Applications for the first round of funding are due Friday, and a second round of grant applications will open this summer.
“Go anywhere in New York City to ask people their concerns, and undoubtedly they will respond that they want less trash on the streets,” Councilwoman Gale Brewer said. “Clean streets are vital for healthy communities and a vibrant economy, and this pilot program will accomplish both improved aesthetics and fewer rodents in our neighborhoods.”