Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

trash

trash

  • Kathryn Garcia sanitation garbage trash

    Kathryn Garcia (photo via the Department of Sanitation)


    This could be the election that flips an old maxim on its head: we may soon find out that there are many different Democratic ways to pick up the trash.

    While garbage probably won’t be among the top issues most voters care about when electing the next mayor of New York City, what better opportunity for a real conversation about how the city handles its trash and recycling than having the recently-departed sanitation commissioner among the candidates vying for the city’s top job.

    Kathryn

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  • bkrot twitter

    (photo: @BKROT)


    For most New Yorkers, the city’s private sanitation industry is mostly out of sight, out of mind. Yet it impacts us in major ways. The industry’s old trucks chug and idle along inefficient routes, spewing pollution throughout the city each night. Once collected, the trash is dumped in communities of color, namely north Brooklyn and the south Bronx. Carters make huge profits while paying their predominantly black and brown workers horrendous wages.

    Some workers have reported making as little as $80 for a 16-hour shift. Even more disturbing,

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  • single wire litter basket

    (photos: Department of Sanitation)


    In the public conversation surrounding quality of life in New York City, litter baskets -- the mostly green, metal-wire trash cans standing guard on street corners throughout the five boroughs -- have taken on a unique focus. They seem to exist at the nexus between public and private life, providing relief for the refuse-laden pedestrian, and serving as a symbol of the urban order embodied in mundane municipal service delivery.

    Where baskets are placed, how often they are serviced, and how the city enforces the

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