On September 19,2023, mayor Eric Adams and Sanitation Commissioner Jessica Tisch announced the expansion of trash containerization requirements for all businesses in New York City as part of the city’s ongoing efforts to mitigate New York’s rat problem.
Beginning March 1, 2024, all businesses will be required to dispose of trash in containers to be placed curbside for collection. Businesses will have flexibility on the type and location of the bins they choose to use as long as the bin has a lid and secure sides. Containers may be stored inside or within three feet of the property line. The announcement today provides businesses with almost six months’ notice before the rule goes into effect next year.
Earlier this year, Mayor Adams announced that all food-related businesses, including restaurants, bodegas, supermarkets and produce markets, would require trash placed curbside to be in sealed containers. The rule went into effect July 30th. Over a one-month warning period, the Department of Sanitation issued over 22,000 warnings to businesses that were not following the new rule. Earlier this month, the rule expanded to all chain businesses with five or more locations citywide. Combined, the rules covered 25 percent of the city’s businesses. With this new expansion, 100 percent of city businesses will be required to use containers, removing approximately 20 million pounds of commercial trash per day from being dumped in bags with easy access for rats.
In addition to the commercial containerization rules, the City has continued to address the rat problems through the appointment of a Rat Czar, creating Rat Mitigation Zones, holding Anti-Rat Days of Action, a pilot residential containerization and mechanized collection program in Hamilton Heights, and changing trash set out and collection times to reduce the amount of time residential trash is left curbside. With less access to trash as a food source, the City aims to reduce the rat population; rat sightings were down 20 percent this summer compared to last summer.
Mayor Adams stated, “We’ve declared that rats are Public Enemy Number One — but we’re not stopping there; we’re also going after the black trash bags that litter our streets, aiding and abetting rodents. That’s why, starting next spring, we’re requiring every New York City business to put out their trash in containers. That’s 20 million pounds of black bags and rat buffets off our streets — every single day. 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.”
Sanitation Commissioner Tisch stated, “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. In less than one year since the effort began, the Adams administration will have moved half of all of New York City’s trash — nearly 20 million pounds a day — from black bags into bins. And we’re going hard after the rest. Stay tuned. . .”
New York State Assemblymember Jenifer Rajkumar stated, “Mayor Adams’ latest salvo in his War on Rats echoes a passage in Sun Tzu’s Art of War: if the enemy is well supplied with food, the clever combatant can starve him out. The mayor is that clever combatant, choking off the food supply of our rats. Requiring all businesses to containerize waste takes millions of pounds of rodent fuel off our streets each day, rendering rats unable to go forth and multiply. We will have eight thousand tons less waste on our sidewalks each year. That goes a long way to making our city safer, cleaner, and more inviting to all.”
By: Veronica Rose (Veronica is the Editor of CityLand and a New York Law School graduate, Class of 2018.)