As the city’s trash problems continue to worsen, and with servicing public trash bins carrying a heavy economic toll, a few experiments have broken out throughout the city to try and curb litter by removing garbage cans from public spaces. Subway platforms could become the latest litter laboratory.
One of the most high-profile experiments kicked off in Bay Ridge, where Community Board 10 voted in 2009 to ask the Department of Sanitation to remove public trash cans in an effort to halt curbside dumping and gusts of wind from blowing loose garbage out of the cans and into the gutter. The cans were finally removed earlier this year, but results have been mixed. Some say litter has gotten worse, while others said that it was an improvement until the city reinstalled the cans – this time with small-mouth holes to deter dumping of household garbage in public cans.
Though the effectiveness remains uncertain, the MTA is now considering a similar proposal to remove trash bins from subway platforms, beginning with a pilot phase at two stations on Queens in Manhattan.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has been testing the plan at two stations for the last two weeks: The Main Street station on the No. 7 line in Flushing, Queens, and the Eighth Street N and R station in Manhattan.
The MTA says it’s an experiment to see how much it can reduce the amount of refuse it picks up in the stations in a given month.
If it is successful, it may expand the program to some other stations.
The MTA says the two-month no-bin experiment is being tried because the agency has more trash than it can handle at its 468 subway stations. Crews remove about 8,500 trash bags daily.
One thing is for sure: the initiative isn’t just about dirty platforms, it’s about saving money and manpower. The agency has been struggling to complete the garbage rounds since slashing subway cleaners last year.
If successful at saving money without worsening conditions, the plan could be unrolled at stations throughout the system. Do you think no trash cans on platforms will mean more – or less – litter in the nation’s largest transit system?