NYC Rat Sightings Continue Historic Decline – as Another Month of Data PROVES that Containerization WORKS!

May 3, 2024

New York – With April 2024 in the books, the latest data affirms that the Trash Revolution – Mayor Adams' signature commitment to getting the bags of trash off our streets once and for all – is working, with rat sightings reported to 311 declining for another month, the Department of Sanitation announced today. This means rat sightings have fallen in 12 of the last 13 months compared to the year prior. Rat sightings are down nearly 14% in the City's Rat Mitigation Zones year over year, and have fallen by an incredible 55% in the Hamilton Heights residential containerization pilot zone since the pilot began.

This historic decline in rat sightings coincides with a tidal wave of change to the management of 44 million pounds of trash per day in New York City.

In October 2022, the Adams administration kicked off the Trash Revolution by changing set-out times for both residential and commercial waste from 4:00 PM — one of the earliest set-out times in the country — to 8:00 PM in April 2023, while also allowing earlier set-out if the material is in a container. This incentivization of containerization was paired with major changes to DSNY operations, picking up well over a quarter of all trash at 12:00 AM rather than 6:00 AM, particularly in high density parts of the city, and ending a practice by which up to one fifth of trash had been purposefully left out for a full day. 

Later that month, DSNY published its "Future of Trash" report, the first meaningful attempt to study containerization models in New York City, and the playbook to get it done. 

Last August, containerization requirements went into effect for all food-related businesses in New York City. These businesses — restaurants, delis, bodegas, bars, grocery stores, caterers, etc. — produce an outsized amount of the type of trash that attracts rats. 

That same month, installation of the initial 10-block, 14-school Manhattan Community Board 9 pilot containers began.

Last September, commercial containerization requirements extended to chain businesses of any type with five or more locations in New York City. These chain businesses tend to produce a large total volume of trash.

Starting March 1, 2024, container requirements went into effect for all businesses — of every type — in New York City to get their trash off the streets and into a secure bin. 

Later this fall, when container requirements go into effect for low-density residential buildings — those with one to nine units — approximately 70 percent of all trash in the city will be containerized.  

In the spring of 2025, installation of stationary on-street containers will begin in Manhattan Community Board 9 for the first full-district containerization pilot, serviced by new automated side-loading trucks.

See an infographic showing the success of these efforts.