Twice a week whether it is on Tuesday and Thursday or Monday and Friday, in every neighborhood throughout the city, you can hear it. Usually before first light you are roused from a sound sleep by the rumbling, beeping and crushing sounds of the garbage truck sent to retrieve your block’s mountains of sorted trash.
But as the sounds of the truck finally fade in the distance awakening another area of the city that never sleeps, not too many of us think about where all that garbage goes. According to information provided by Kathy Dawkins, a spokesperson for the Department of Sanitation of New York (DSNY), the department collects more than 12,500 tons of refuse and 1,760 tons of recyclables a day.
And it is no small operation. The DSNY has more than 7,100 uniformed workers and supervisors, 2,048 civilian employees, 2,505 collection trucks, 450 street sweepers, 298 front-end loaders, and 365 salt/sand spreaders in its fleet of vehicles.
And that doesn’t even take into account the city’s private carters. According to Nancy Walby, co-chair of the Brooklyn Solid Waste Advisory Board (SWAB), while the city provides garbage pickup for residences, multifamily buildings can supplement that with private carting services if they feel they need it.
So how does that estimated 12,500 tons of bagged refuse and recycling ultimately get to its final destination?