Keep it Clean The DSNY's Rules & Regulations

In a city as densely populated as New York City, government agencies such as the Department of Sanitation of New York (DSNY) have their work cut out for them when it comes to strategically managing the 365-day-a-year task of picking up the city's garbage.

Along with New York City's 8 million residents comes an inordinate amount of garbage and refuse--by some accounts nearly two pounds of trash per person per day. That's a lot of garbage, and according to the DSNY's most recent annual report, the world's largest sanitation department deployed more than 5,000 trucks in 2002-03 to collect the 53,000 tons of curbside refuse and garbage generated by New Yorkers every single week.

In order for this monumental task to be manageable, the DSNY has established rules and regulations governing the process of garbage disposal, recycling and collection. Without these rules--and without the cooperation of city residents--New Yorkers would soon find ourselves in need of tracking systems to navigate our way through canyons of old Chinese take-out cartons, pizza boxes, and other, nastier refuse.

The Rules of the Game

Regardless of whether you live in a multi-family co-op or condo building or a single-family home, the rules and regulations established by the DSNY are essentially the same.

"The rules are the same for all residential establishments and are not dependent on population density," says Taryn Duckett, the DSNY's public information officer.


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  • What can a citizen do if the DSNY Enforcement Unit fails to enforce the administrative code? I have complained via 311 numerous times to conditions which are clearly against the administrative code and the DSNY Enforcement Unit will reply with, "no violation observed."