A stroll through Maria Hernandez Park or down Knickerbocker Avenue will remind you that litter is rampant throughout Bushwick, a problem many locals blame on the lack of public trash cans lining the streets. 

Yesterday, the city acknowledged this. 

On Monday, October 18, the New York Department of Sanitation (DSNY) sent out a Tweet and posted on Instagram recognizing the lack of public trash cans across many New York City neighborhoods. 

In its social media posts, the DSNY said, if you’d like a garbage can placed on a local corner, you can request one online or by calling via 311.

There are a few restrictions, though. According to the DSNY, litter baskets can only be placed at commercial street corners along standard collection routes. The DSNY doesn’t accept requests for new litter baskets in residential areas. 

“Litter baskets are placed at commercial street corners with a high volume of pedestrian traffic along standard collection routes so that we can service them regularly,” Vincent Gragnani, DSNY Press Secretary, told Bushwick Daily. “These are places where people are likely to have ‘walking trash’ – coffee cups or candy wrappers, for example, which is what corner baskets are for. Remember, it is both illegal and just plain wrong to use them for household or business trash.”

Gragnani added that all requests generated through the 311 system are “historically investigated and answered within five business days.”

However, some locals are expressing problems with the system. 

“I’ve logged two complaints about a sidewalk being filthy with piles of trash and 311 keeps closing them and telling me there’s no problem,” one NY resident commented on the Instagram post. “I no longer trust this process—incredibly frustrating and disappointing.” 

But, a separate comment on the post pointed out: “Just think of how many ‘babysitters’ NYC needs to employ to clean up after its own residents . . . Don’t blame the department, blame the people you walk by everyday.”

There are organziations and programs, local to Bushwick and across the city, that aim to help keep the streets clean and pick up after their neighbors. 

One such organization is Clean Bushwick Initiative, a local cleanup and environmental education group. 

Gragnani also suggested that individuals can volunteer with the city’s Adopt-a-Basket Program to help keep litter baskets from overflowing. 

“With this program, Sanitation provides a regular supply of free plastic liners, a collection schedule, work gloves, a dust bin and broom, said Gragnani. “We ask that volunteers monitor their litter baskets; when they’re three-quarters full, volunteers remove the used plastic liners, tie them, leave them next to the basket and insert a new liner.”


Featured Image: Jackson Schroeder

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