Southern Brooklyn

It’s Back! Return Of East 14th Street Trash Bin Gives Chance To Observe Garbage Theory


GARBAGE GAZETTEAs of last week, a new public garbage can sits on the northeast corner of Avenue Z and East 14th Street – and its presence gives us a new opportunity to study a budding theory about neighborhood litter.

It’s not the first time the corner has hosted a trash can. In July 2010, Department of Sanitation placed one at that corner in response to ongoing complaints about the trash overflowing on Sheepshead Bay’s retail corridors.

Around the same time, Community Board 11 in Bensonhurst asked the city to remove all the public trash cans from commercial streets. The idea was that people would hold on to their garbage until they get where they’re going, so public cans wouldn’t overflow and clutter the streets. According to early reports, the experiment worked and streets were cleaner within weeks; but, later, business owners gave it a thumbs down when the program expanded.

Back then, we asked a community leader if it would work in Sheepshead Bay. We were told that Sheepshead Bay “isn’t Park Slope,” and that folks would just dump their garbage on the street.

So when, in 2010, the garbage can appeared on East 14th Street and Avenue Z, we decided to keep an eye on it. That corner, after all, had never really had a trash problem. In fact, it was pretty well kept. Within days, though, the can was already overflowing, and after our second post documenting it, the can mysteriously disappeared – and so did the trash problem.

The new can was placed there sometime in the middle of last week. By Saturday, it looked like the photo above, in which it’s overflowing, and at least one coffee cup made its escape. By Monday, it looked like this:

The can is slated for pickup today, along with the rest of East 14th Street’s residential trash. We’ll continue to keep an eye on it, and report back to see if adding a trash bin means adding trash, or if the corner remains as clean as it ever was.