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12 Things New Yorkers Should-Know About Their Garbage


Living in the vibrant and bustling city of New York comes with its unique set of challenges, including managing and disposing of garbage effectively. New Yorkers navigate a complex waste management system that aims to promote sustainability and maintain cleanliness throughout the city. This article aims to provide valuable insights into the world of New York City’s garbage, equipping residents with the knowledge they need to make informed decisions about waste disposal and contribute to a cleaner, greener city.

Residential Collection System 

a. Regular Collection Schedule: New York City operates a curbside collection system, where residents place their garbage out for collection on designated days. Familiarize yourself with the specific collection schedule for your neighborhood to ensure timely disposal.

b. Sorting Requirements: Certain recyclable materials, such as paper, metal, glass, and plastic, should be separated from regular garbage. New York City has implemented a comprehensive recycling program, and adhering to sorting guidelines helps reduce waste and promote sustainability.

c. Bagging and Packaging: Garbage should be securely bagged in durable plastic bags to prevent spills and littering. Double-bagging items prone to leaking or emitting odors is encouraged to maintain cleanliness and hygiene.

Bulk Item Disposal

a. Scheduling Bulk Pickup: Bulk items, such as furniture or appliances, require special arrangements for disposal. Contact the Department of Sanitation (DSNY) or consult their website to schedule a pickup appointment. Avoid leaving bulky items on sidewalks without prior arrangement to avoid fines or violations.

b. Donating Usable Items: Consider donating functional and gently used bulk items to local charities or organizations that accept donations. This helps reduce waste and benefits those in need.

c. DIY Disposal Options: For smaller bulk items that can be disassembled, consider breaking them down into manageable pieces for regular garbage collection. Ensure compliance with size and weight restrictions to avoid inconveniences or penalties.

Hazardous Waste Disposal

a. Proper Handling of Hazardous Materials: Hazardous waste, such as batteries, electronics, cleaning agents, and fluorescent bulbs, requires special disposal to prevent harm to the environment and human health. Consult the DSNY website for information on local drop-off locations or special collection events.

b. Pharmaceutical Disposal: Unused or expired medications should not be flushed down the toilet or thrown in the regular garbage. Special medication disposal programs exist to ensure safe and proper disposal of pharmaceuticals.

c. Safe Disposal of E-Waste: Electronic waste should never be discarded with regular garbage. New York City provides e-waste recycling options, including drop-off locations and periodic collection events.

Composting Initiatives

a. NYC Compost Program: New Yorkers can participate in the NYC Compost Program, which encourages composting of organic waste. This initiative helps divert food scraps and other organic materials from landfills while producing nutrient-rich compost for gardening and urban agriculture.

b. Compost Drop-Off Locations: Numerous drop-off sites across the city allow residents to conveniently dispose of their food scraps for composting. Familiarize yourself with the locations nearest to you for easy access.

c. Home Composting Options: Residents with access to outdoor spaces can explore home composting methods, such as backyard composting or vermicomposting (using worms). These practices reduce waste, enrich soil health, and provide a sustainable solution for organic materials.

Special Event Waste Management

a. Permits and Guidelines: Planning a special event in New York City requires obtaining the necessary permits and adhering

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