Garbage is a problem that every city has to deal with. In New York City alone, it's estimated that every person generates 2.5 pounds of garbage a day. Given a population of roughly 8 million, that garbage piles up into unsightly heaps very quickly, not to mention attracting vermin, too. Boards and management of buildings need to help tenants and shareholders understand proper trash disposal - to help city refuse workers dispose of it easily and efficiently, but also to reduce the unpleasant impact of garbage waiting for pick-up day.
Of the many trash-related problems facing residential buildings, the biggest is probably storage of trash between pick-ups. Poorly stored trash attracts unwanted urban wildlife and makes for an ugly and noxious landscape.
"Storage of waste is an ongoing challenge," says Taryn Duckett, public information officer for the New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY). "At times the receptacles overflow, which can potentially cause an odor and vermin issue. We urge residential buildings to bag their refuse in proper leak-proof, heavy-duty black plastic trash bags to alleviate odor and rodent infestation."
This was not always the case. Prior to their banning in the late 1960s, incinerators were the main form of garbage disposal in the city. In 1968 however, incinerators began to be phased out because they did not meet the requirements set forth by the Clean Air Act. Their final ban came in the 1980s.
"The way that building incinerators were constructed, there was no way to meet the new requirements," says Alan Levitt, owner of Apple Compactor Corp. in Woodside, Queens. "It would have been way too expensive - if it was possible at all - to upgrade those systems. So they had to be replaced with compactors."