nw3 to nyc

Observations on moving my family across the Atlantic

The $1.4 billion garbage bill

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I’ve often wondered where all the rubbish goes in New York. On Saturday mornings, the streets around here are lined with rubbish bags and waste waiting to be picked up. The streets smell really bad until the ‘garbage’ trucks turn up. I usually go for my run then and I have to breathe through my mouth the whole way to avoid the smell. Friday night detritus is everywhere, pizza boxes galore along with some less salubrious leftovers.

To be fair to the DSNY (the New York City Department of Sanitation) they seem to take pretty much anything. People leave all sorts of crap out and it’s gone within hours. Each week the Department picks up 50,000 tonnes of curbside rubbish. I did try to find out where it all goes, but it was a long and complex explanation, suffice to say Manhattan is an island so it trundles off by boat from Marine Waste Transfer Stations. Where it goes from there, who knows!

I did find out that there are 6,000 uniformed workers and a vast array of vehicles:

  • 2,230 collection trucks
  • 450 mechanical street sweepers
  • 275 specialized collection trucks
  • 365 salt/sand spreaders
  • 298 front end loaders, and
  • 2,360 various other support vehicles

The New York Times did a great article yesterday, providing an insight into the life of a garbage truck worker and the training they have to go through. And I was stunned to see the cost of it: $1.4 billion. Wow. It’s well worth a read.

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