With their new, later trash-out times, the city’s sanitation department is aiming to “send the rats packing”!
But building managers are scrambling — and complaining — to comply with the new rules.
From April 1, buildings will have to put their garbage bags outside for collection four hours later – The change to 8 PM instead of 4 PM is to curb the rats’ food supply.
But the change reflects costly staffing and scheduling problems.
“How many porters and supers are working on a regular basis until 8 p.m.?” said Mark Ellman, senior vice president of Citadel Asset Management. “Are they going to come back home? Do you have to pay overtime for existing employees or just hire someone else to take out the trash?”
Property managers aren’t convinced that the four-hour difference will make as much of a dent in the rat population.
“The rats still have more than eight hours to get their food,” said Michael Rothschild, president of management firm AJ Clark. “They must be just as hungry.”
Smaller buildings without a live-in super will likely be hardest hit by the change.
“Everything is going to get worse,” said Jose Rodriguez, superman who oversees a handful of small buildings in various locations from the East Village to the Upper East Side. “I can’t sit around and wait until 8 p.m. to take out the trash.”
He lives in the Bronx and drives to work.
“I’m part-time in every building, but when they need me, I’m there,” he said. For example, if he has an initial ConEd inspection, expanding his hours to accommodate the new trash rules may require him to work 14 hours a day.
If a super can’t start taking out the trash by 8 p.m., “a two-hour job will be done at 10 p.m., and he still has to go home,” said Elman, Rodriguez’s boss.
Rodriguez fears he will need to store trash indoors while he struggles to rearrange his schedule.
“I am afraid that the rats are going to come to my buildings,” he said.
Live-in supers expect problems, too. Victor Landetta lives in his 74-unit co-op building near Pelham Parkway in the Bronx. The change would force him to regularly work outside his designated work hours, which he does in emergencies anyway.
The rules allow an earlier hour – 6 p.m. – for set-out if the trash is locked in a tightly closed bin.
But not all buildings have enough space.
“We’ll need a dozen bins to hold our trash, especially when there’s no collection over the holidays and the trash piles up,” Landetta said. “On days of heavy snow they usually cancel collection. It never stops – there’s always garbage.
Canopies are also impractical for buildings with stairs. Landetta and his porter handle up to 40 trash bags on a recycling day, pulling it up a ramp with a hand truck.
And if a super shifts its hours to the night, who will bring back the lidded box the next morning?
“It’s going to be best for people who commit street crimes,” Rodriguez said. “They can hold up a van and steal 100 buckets a day.”
The regulations are likely to drive up costs for co-ops, which is a concern for David Capaldo, president of his 140-unit Bay Ridge Co-op, which is home to a live-in super and a live-out porter. appoints.
The new rules are a “huge burden”, he said. “Every co-operative society has a budget for garbage collection.”
Someone may have to be employed in his building or porter hours may have to be changed. Or the super would need to interrupt dinner with his family to “spend two hours running downstairs to take out the trash,” Capaldo said. “Super would like to be compensated for a two-hour mid-evening shift.”
After one month grace period, fine for taking out the trash Very quickly it will be $50 for the first offense, $100 for the second, and $200 after that.
Will the new, later set-out time really help?
The rats have proved to be invincible so far. The population of rats in the city has increased in recent years, possibly due to the feasts provided by outdoor dining sheds or the ongoing construction that drives them away from their hiding-holes.
“Fighting crime, fighting inequality, fighting rats is something we’re focused on,” Mayor Eric Adams announced at a press conference last fall when he announced the new Garbage Time, saying they constitute a “once-in-a-generation change”.
Figuratively speaking, the rat-hating mayor declared that “there are many rivers that feed the sea of rodents in this city, and today we are damming one of them.”
The city is expected to soon announce its new Rat Czar — or “Director of Rodent Suppression” — whose onerous mandate is to reduce the rodent population.
According to a spokesperson, pest-control experts agree that limiting the rat-food supply is key — and the Department of Sanitation says this drastic reduction in “the trash that sits on our curbs” will reduce the food supply.
But it’s not clear whether nocturnal critters — which can nibble the plastic — won’t chew through it a few hours later. been there little scientific research on urban rats.
“Rats will quickly chew through garbage bags left out on the street,” said Jim Fredericks, a spokesman for the National Pest Management Association, “so we encourage businesses and individuals to use tightly sealed garbage containers so that rats can’t.” be prevented from reaching the food. ,
As for large-scale containerization, Sanitation Commissioner Jessica Tisch noted last fall that it was “a really difficult thing to do,” and further study is needed regarding the frequency of collection, the size of the containers and the trucks that hoist them. was needed.
Keeping the lids secure is another challenge. “My neighbors seem unable to keep the lid on,” said an Upper West cider living in a small walkup with three cans under a front stoop.
“The lids of our dustbins are often loose,” she said, “even on the rare occasions when the trash does not overflow.”
Buildings with nine or more units have an earlybird option. They can put out their trash between 4 a.m. and 7 a.m. — but have to wait until January to pick them up so DSNY has time to plan its routes.
A DSNY spokesman said the 4 p.m. scheduled time was “the earliest of any major city”. “It is unacceptable that New Yorkers need to navigate approximately 24 million pounds of waste that goes to a pedestrian stop at rush-hour start.”