New York, NY, USA, 07-18-2023 Sanitation workers roll trash bins...

New York, NY, USA, 07-18-2023 Sanitation workers roll trash bins to open back of trash truck on busy Manhattan, New York City street. Shot in natural summer sunlight. Editorial use only. Credit: Getty Images/Mary Salen

Apr. 14—Get ready to say goodbye to your garbage cans. It won't be long before you'll be prohibited from using them.

And get ready to pony up some cash for new ones.

The City of New York is mandating that homeowners and residential landlords buy city-approved, and only city-approved, standardized garbage cans.

This is being done in part to battle what Mayor Eric Adams has decried as the city's growing rat problem. Put trash in a sturdy receptacle and the rats won't be able to tear into the bags and leave a mess on the street.

The switch to standardized containers is also being made so that collection can be mechanized by installing mechanical tippers on garbage trucks, which should curb injuries to Sanitation Department workers who right now lift all those heavy trash cans.

I have no argument with the city mandating that people put their trash bags in cans.

Trash bags left by the curb are unsightly and, yes, are a buffet for rats, raccoons and other city-dwelling creatures. Towering stacks of plastic bags outside of multi-unit dwellings and apartment buildings also make neighborhoods look uglier.

So I get it, Mr. Mayor.

But there's an easy, cost-free solution: mandate that everybody has to put their trash in some kind of receptacle. And put real teeth in the mandate and be ruthless in fining violators.

But the city is going further than that, demanding that residents use only one, standardized can, which is manufactured by a single company: Duramax Holdings of North Carolina, according to a story in The City.

Duramax is going to be the sole vendor of the new, two-wheeled, lidded bins, with an exclusive 10-year contract that can be renewed for two additional, five-year terms.

A good monopoly for Duramax.

There's nothing wrong with my garbage cans. Heck, I'm still using a lidded can that was here when I bought my house nearly 30 years ago.

Talk about sturdy.

And I learned my lesson about putting trash out in a bag when some critter tore into a black contractor bag that I'd placed at the curb. It was no fun cleaning up that mess.

And, by the way, I have never put a full kitchen trash bag at the curb without putting it in a can. I've seen others do this and it blows my mind.

I also don't understand folks who put out their cardboard recycling, like pizza or Amazon boxes, without placing them in a can or tying them up.

So, yeah, force people to put their trash in cans. Just don't force us all to buy the same can.

It appears that the new cans will cost about $50 a piece because Duramax expects to sell about 3.4 million of them across the life of its contract with the city.

The retail price is around $150, I'm told, so the city has ensured us a volume discount. That's one benefit of this exclusive contract.

I initially wrote that we would have to buy separate cans for our trash, recyclables and food scraps. But the Sanitation Department told me that while "official city recycling and compost bins will be available for purchase for residents who would like a matching set, residents will only be required to containerize trash."

In any event, I hope that the cans will be sturdy enough to make this a once-in-a-lifetime purchase. But it's still an unnecessary purchase as far as I'm concerned.

Why not approve a range of cans and let there be some competition among businesses looking to provide them? That could save consumers even more money.

And the rats will still have trouble feasting.


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