Residents of a street in Hell's Kitchen are experimenting with putting their trash in metal containers as part of a new pilot program.

The metal bins for residential trash and recyclables were designed to clear sidewalks and avoid rats.

“This has been a few years in the making that we’ve been agitating and pushing for a pilot here,” Manhattan City Councilman Erik Bottcher said.

The new limited pilot program on West 45th Street between Ninth and Tenth avenues features a few sets of containers on what used to be parking spots.

What You Need To Know

  • Residents of one street in Hell's Kitchen are experimenting with putting their trash in containers

  • The pilot program will test how containerization of residential waste could work in New York City

  • The city is paying a consulting firm for a study on how to overhaul the waste management system

  • Many major cities around the world use trash containers instead of leaving plastic bags on the sidewalks

New Yorkers have been putting out their trash in plastic bags on the sidewalk for half a century.

The city is now trying to figure out better ways to manage its annual 14 million tons of residential and commercial waste.  

Most major cities around the world use large containers that sanitation trucks lift to empty.

In October, the city gave the McKinsey & Company, a consulting firm, a $4 million contract to study how containerization could be implemented in New York.

“Containerization of waste will affect every block in the city, every neighborhood, every resident,” Sanitation Commissioner Jessica Tisch said. “It’s just sweeping, and in my opinion you have the chance of rolling out containerization in New York City once, and you have to do it right.”

Clare Miflin, founder of the Center for Zero Waste Design, said she sees the 45th Street pilot as a positive step, but not really an example of containerization.

“They wanted to do a quick pilot that didn’t have to change the existing operations, i.e. bags, didn’t have to add hoists to trucks, so they did these enclosures on the street,” Miflin said.

With mixed success, the city has also been implementing other pilots like one for commercial waste in the Times Square area.

“Many major cities around the world have really innovated in the area of waste management over the past decade, and New York City hasn’t. So what we are looking to do right now is to catch up,” Tisch said.

High density in many areas of the city could make containerization complicated. There’s also no plan at the moment to increase the number of collection days for residential trash.

It’s mostly two days per week for regular garbage, and one day for recyclables.