Every NYC Business Will Have to Place Trash in Bins In 2024

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Mayor Eric Adams is finally forcing every New York City business to ditch the black garbage bags on the sidewalk and instead containerize its trash, beginning next spring. 

Adams and New York City Department of Sanitation Commissioner Jessica Tisch announced Tuesday that all commercial trash in the city — which totals roughly 20 million pounds per day — must be set out in secure, lidded containers starting March 1, 2024. 

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“The notion that the greatest city in the world could not move its trash into wheelie bins was always patently absurd, but that’s the type of thinking that allowed the rats to thrive and our streets to reek for over 50 years,” said Tisch during a press conference. “In less than one year since the effort began, the Adams administration will have moved half of all of New York City’s trash from black bags into bins. And we’re going hard after the rest.”

Mayor Adams has made reducing rat activity a priority since taking office and focused on reducing the amount of unsecured garbage bags set out on the street like a rodent buffet. 

The first containerization push for commercial trash went into effect July 30. Under that rule, roughly 40,000 food-related businesses had to start placing their trash in lidded bins, accounting for about 4 million pounds of trash and 25 percent of businesses across the city. The Sanitation Department says that it has issued 22,000 warnings to food businesses since the new measure went into effect. Businesses that fail to place waste into containers face fines of $50 for the first offense, $100 for the second offense and $200 for all subsequent offenses, according to the Sanitation Department. Food businesses were at risk of fines beginning September 1, following a month-long grace period, while enforcement against chain retailers with four or more locations will begin next month. 

The rule applies only to NYC businesses and will not affect residential trash, although city officials are looking in that direction. Sanitation just started a $5.6 million pilot to containerize residential trash for about 10 residential blocks and 14 schools in West Harlem.  

“We’ve declared that rats are Public Enemy No. 1 — but we’re not stopping there; we’re also going after the black trash bags that litter our streets, aiding and abetting rodents,” said Adams. “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.”

Rebecca Baird-Remba can be reached at rbairdremba@commercialobserver.com.