NYC’s recycling mascots get names as part of Earth Day push

Scrappy is among the newly named Sanitation Department's costumed characters that aim to raise awareness for recycling and composting in New York City. Photo Credit: Howard Simmons

Zero the Hero, Scrappy, and Pattie Paper are among the colorful representatives of the city’s recycling efforts.

Scrappy is among the newly named Sanitation Department's costumed characters that aim to raise awareness for recycling and composting in New York City.
Scrappy is among the newly named Sanitation Department’s costumed characters that aim to raise awareness for recycling and composting in New York City. Photo Credit: Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau

After years of service, the Sanitation Department’s five mascots finally have names.

You may have seen them, hanging around a community fair or outside a Brooklyn Cyclones game. But trying to stand out in New York City isn’t an easy feat, even for these colorful, energetic recycling ambassadors. (It also doesn’t help if you are only referred to as Blue Bin, Green Bin, Brown Bin, Gray Bin and Leaf Bag).

Thanks to a contest on the Sanitation Department’s various social media channels, the gray trash can, known for his flashy orange cape, is now "Zero the Hero." The composting brown bin was given the moniker "Scrappy;" The green bin — the glamour girl of the lot — is "Pattie Paper;" while the blue bin is simply "Bobby." Finally, the lawn and leaf recycling bag will be known as "Leif."

For the last five weeks, posts have appeared on the Sanitation Department’s social media accounts with one of the bins accompanied by a description of its distinct personality.

"Pattie Paper," who hails from Staten Island, takes cardboard, paper and magazines, and is fond of wearing lipstick and eating Italian food.
"Pattie Paper," who hails from Staten Island, takes cardboard, paper and magazines, and is fond of wearing lipstick and eating Italian food. Photo Credit: Howard Simmons

Bobby, representing bins is used to collect metal, glass and plastic, is apparently a Metallica fan from Queens. Pattie Paper, who hails from Staten Island, takes cardboard, paper and magazines, and is fond of wearing lipstick and eating Italian food.

The naming contest was lighthearted, but its message serious. The city is trying to ramp up its recycling efforts as it marches toward the ambitious goal of sending zero waste to landfills by 2030. Currently about 20.9% of the city’s municipal trash is recycled. The name reveals were timed to coincide with Earth Day celebrations this week.

In addition, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Monday he would work with the City Council to make organic waste collection mandatory in all five boroughs.

Lisa L. Colangelo