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No More Black Garbage Bags in Front of Co-ops and Condos?

New York City

Garbage bags, sealed on-street garbage bins, Department of Sanitation.

These scenic urban vistas may soon vanish.

March 13, 2020

Those ubiquitous and picturesque mountains of black garbage bags may soon vanish from the sidewalks in front of the city's larger co-ops and condominiums. The Department of Sanitation (DOS) has announced two major initiatives to get filthy bags of seeping garbage out of the way of pedestrians and into on-street containers — the result of a year-long process to stop a decades-old city blight, Streetsblog reports.

The first proposal calls for a new city rule requiring all new 300-plus-unit buildings to set out their garbage in sealed containers instead of piles of bags that delight vermin and repulse the rest of us. Buildings that don’t comply will no longer receive free pickup from the Department of Sanitation. The rule will also cover any commercial-to-residential conversion with more than 300 units, the agency said.

No less significantly, the DOS will also announce a partnership with the Department of Transportation on a pilot program called “Clean Curbs” that will allow Business Improvement Districts (and, presumably, other large neighborhood groups) to install sealed containers — containers that would be set out in the street, not on the sidewalk (pictured at the top of this post).

“City pedestrians navigate around piles of trash and recycling that take up significant sidewalk space,” says DOS Commissioner Kathryn Garcia. “It is time to make smarter, more efficient choices when it comes to the way New Yorkers set out refuse and recycling for collection in the public right of way. Thursday’s announcement is the first step in that direction.”

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