The Absurd Problem of New York City Trash, NY Times

We helped the NYT journalists to understand and visualize DSNY’s proposals for containerizing waste, and were quoted in their article:

Clare Miflin, an architect and the executive director of the Center for Zero Waste Design, argues that a different scheme would better address these harder cases. In denser parts of the city, she suggests all small and midsize buildings use shared on-street containers, clearing the sidewalks of wheelie bins. (With the right design choices, like a smaller opening to throw trash, Ms. Miflin says the city could still discourage commercial use of containers meant for residents.)

That would take up more parking, and require more frequent collection in the densest parts of the city. But Ms. Miflin suggests the biggest apartment buildings don’t need their own permanent street containers. They could use four-wheeled bins that would be stored inside, filled from trash compactors, and pushed to designated on-street spots on collection days. That same street space could then be used for recycling bins on other days, and for delivery trucks and rideshare drop-offs at other hours.

Ms. Miflin worries the city is too focused on rats and not enough on how the challenge of trash containerization could also serve much larger goals in rethinking the city’s streetscape and reducing overall waste in the process.

“You should make the best use of space,” she said, suggesting that the sidewalk in front of a cafe or a ground-floor apartment isn’t best spent on wheelie bins. “Things should be on the street. But don’t consider the street something we can take as much of as we like.”