NYC Trash Pickup Rules in Place Since 1969 Change This Saturday: What to Know

No kidding, NYC garbage policies in place for more than a half-century get a major overhaul on April 1

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What to Know

  • New NYC trash rules take effect Saturday, April 1 and affect the time at which businesses and residential buildings can put garbage on the curb on collection days
  • Mayor Eric Adams and sanitation officials announced the plan last fall as rat complaints spiked across the five boroughs; the Democrat said there's no reason trash needs to sit out so long
  • There will be a one-month grace period during which violators will get written warnings. Recipients of those notes will be the first inspected when that grace period ends May 1, the city says

The times, they are a-changin' -- as far as when you can put out your trash in New York City on collection days, anyway.

Mayor Eric Adams announced the new garbage plan in mid-October -- so don't say you weren't fair-warned -- which reduces the amount of time trash sits out on the street. The goal is to mitigate a citywide spike in rat complaints.

The changes take effect on Saturday, April 1 (no joke). There will be a one-month grace period during which residents and businesses will get written warnings about violations. People and places that got those written warnings will be the first inspected when that grace period ends May 1, and noncompliance may come with fines after that point.

Previously, and through the rest of this week, at least, residential buildings have been able to put out trash starting at 4 p.m. for pickup the following morning. The rule change pushes the time back four hours, to 8 p.m., for those who put bags directly on the curb. If you've got a container of 55 or fewer gallons with a secure lid, it can go out at 6 p.m.

If you want to be sure it gets picked up, just have it out by midnight, the city says. Those rules apply to residential buildings of any size, whether single-family or multi-unit, and those are the only two options for trash pickup.

For businesses that put their trash out curbside, there are also two choices:

  • Got garbage in a container with a secure lid? It can go to the curb an hour before closing; or
  • Trash bags placed directly on the curb can go out after 8 p.m.

Any containers have to be pulled off the sidewalk by the time the business reopens the next day.

In his fall announcement on the change, Adams called the current trash policy, which has been in place since 1969, outmoded, saying, "It makes no sense that these garbage bags remain on the streets for such a long period of time."

Health department data shows rat sightings in the city doubled in 2022. That statistic was made all the more jarring by research out earlier this year indicating millions of wild rats across the five boroughs could be carrying COVID-19. That again raises the possibility of animal-to-human transmission, though the authors say the potential threat is unclear.

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