In case you haven't noticed, New Yorkers produce a lot of trash. Any given block in the city is filled with countless bags filled with residential refuse—and all of them will be picked up by the Sanitation Department at no cost to the garbage's creator.
The free rubbish ride in New York City may soon be coming to an end. Crain's New York reports that the Department of Sanitation is working on finalizing a contract with Resource Recycling Systems, which would look into programs that would incentivize New Yorkers to pay more attention to their recycling. The city's recycling rate is at 17 percent, which is half the national average and laughably awful. Two potential methods to improve this rate would be to require New Yorkers to purchase bags for general garbage and offer tax incentives for those who properly recycle.
New Yorkers are not only awful at recycling but also ditch enough trash to cost the city an arm and a leg. In 2015, a report from the Citizens Budget Commission noted that the Sanitation Department spends more than $1.5 billion on garbage pickup annually, which doesn't include the cost of private waste disposal companies.
In a nutshell, New Yorkers have been so careless when it comes to their garbage that the city has few choices other than charging residents. Maybe the initiative will be a major step toward making the city less disgusting. But we're not holding our breath.