Residents express concerns regarding city’s new trash pickup rules, cleanliness along Jamaica Avenue

RHBA Meeting
A DSNY community affairs liaison speaks to residents at the Richmond Hill Block Association regarding the city’s new schedule for trash pickup beginning April 1. (Photo by Carlotta Mohamed)

The NYC Department of Sanitation (DSNY) will institute new regulations April 1 to limit the number of hours trash, recycling and organics sit on sidewalks. This will be done by adjusting the time of day those materials may be placed on the curb; however, residents said they’re unhappy with these changes during the Richmond Hill Block Association meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 25. 

A representative from DSNY notified residents during the meeting that start time will be pushed back to 8 p.m.; if you have a garbage container with a lid, you can put it out at 6 p.m.

“The main emphasis was to try and find a compromise to be able to mitigate the length of time trash would be on the street and place it out at a reasonable time,” said Joseph Ottomanelli, DSNY community affairs liaison.  

Bundled cardboard, which does not attract rats, may be placed next to the container at this time — a change DSNY made to the rule as a result of public comment. 

Residents will have to place trash outside after 8 p.m. if they are putting bags directly on the curb. If a building has nine or more residential units, the property owner may opt in to a 4 a.m. to 7 a.m. set-out window instead. The opt-in period will run for the month of January each year, allowing DSNY to design quick and efficient routes that take effect April 1. 

Businesses may place waste outside after 8 p.m. by putting bags directly on the curb or they can put waste out one hour before closing in a secure container. Bundled cardboard may go next to the container. 

In response to the new rules, residents said it’s an inconvenience for them.  

“I don’t want to go out in the dark, and people are already asleep by that time,” a resident said. “Businesses have so much trash to put out, they probably won’t be done until midnight.”

Another resident said it’s an accident waiting to happen. 

“That’s stupid. Sanitation is asking people to go out in the ice and fall. There has to be consideration for schools, apartment buildings and businesses,” she said. “There’s a lot of situations that Sanitation didn’t give a crap about. If they really did care, they would’ve thought about it more. It’s our job to help them think, and put some science out there. There has to be some kind of group that listens to the people — what group is that?” 

Sherry Algredo, chair of Community Board 9, said it’s an issue she will bring attention to at the next board meeting and will report to the DSNY, as the community will most likely express similar sentiments and concerns regarding the schedule change for garbage pickup. 

“I got a sanitation ticket once at 1 in the morning. So you’re saying to put out the garbage at 8, but when it’s windy in the night, Sanitation is allowed to come at 1 in the morning and give tickets. That’s crazy. We should have rules against the DSNY,” Algredo said. “They shouldn’t give people tickets late at night.” 

For those who receive a violation ticket for trash on their property, Ottomanelli suggested they contest it with OATH, the agency responsible for holding hearings on summonses issued by a variety of agencies. Unable to make changes in the short term since the rules take effect in April, Ottomanelli announced that he will share residents’ concerns with DSNY for reevaluation.

“We did it with the composting program when we expanded it across Queens and saw how people responded,” Ottomanelli said. “Originally, it was only in segments of the borough and the response was more or less overwhelmingly positive, and that’s the step the agency is trying to take with this as well.” 

The city’s Curbside Composting Program, which took effect in October of last year and took a brief hiatus in December, will resume in the spring, Ottomanelli said. 

In regards to posters plastered on the poles from Lefferts Boulevard to 100th Street along Jamaica Avenue, Ottomanelli said it’s something DSNY can evaluate on their end but for the graffiti removal process, it must be done through the NYC Economic Development Corporation (EDC). 

As for illegal dumping of trash in certain areas, Ottomanelli noted the agency’s recent cleaning initiative called the Targeted Neighborhood Taskforce (TNT), where a DSNY unit cleans litter-filled areas (such as walkways, medians, step streets, overpasses and other areas) across the city. 

“We’ve been able to implement a number of cameras across the city to mitigate any issues pertaining to illegal dumping. We are continuing to add more cameras for that purpose to catch those people responsible for any dumping-related concerns, issue violations and continue to minimize eyesores across Queens, and the city as a whole,” Ottomanelli said.

There is no registration required for curbside composting in Queens. For more information, visit nyc.gov/curbsidecomposting.

This story was updated Monday, Jan. 30, at 12:30 p.m.