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New Yorkers could soon be charged for trash collection services

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The Department of Sanitation is working with a firm to develop a “save as you throw” program that mulls fees for residential trash pickup

Flickr/Jason Lawrence

Last week at the New York League of Conservation Voters policy forum, Brooklyn Councilman Antonio Reynoso resurfaced the idea that New Yorkers should foot the bill for residential garbage pickups by way of a fee that charges residents based on how much trash they generate. Reynoso just might have things his way as the city moves forward with plans to develop a new program that aims to do as he suggests.

According to Crain’s, the city’s Department of Sanitation is in the process of negotiating with a Michigan-based firm to develop what they are calling a “save as you throw” program that will explore ways to encourage New Yorkers to separate recycling and organics from generic waste through financial incentives. The city’s current recycling rate hovers at a measly 17 percent, which is about half the rate of the major U.S. cities, but city officials are hoping to improve that by implementing fees for residents who go produce more trash than allowed by a threshold.

According to a city-issued request for proposals, residents could also be required to purchase distinct bags for general waste that would differ from bags for recycling and organic waste.

“We absolutely should be charging people for trash,” stated Reynoso. “It is a utility and it should be treated like water or electricity.” The new charge could also alleviate neighborhoods where trash is processed before being transferred, reports Crain’s.

“If we recycle metal, glass, plastic and paper, and then organics, then you have almost no trash left, right? So what we’re doing is trying to encourage that,” said Reynoso in a statement to Crain’s. Of course, you can get in the habit of recycling and composting on your own, that way if the city does charge for excessive waste pickup, you’ll be worry-free and ahead of the game. Here are a few ideas to get you going.