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NYCHA Announces Plans for Clean Curbs for All, a Waste Containerization Pilot Program

Five South Brooklyn developments will host the first hoist-collected pilot in New York City, keeping 3,650 tons of waste off curb over two-year period 

WasteTech LLC will provide equipment and services 

NEW YORK - The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) today announced the signing of an agreement with WasteTech LLC to provide equipment and services for Clean Curbs for All, a hoist-collected waste containerization pilot program at five NYCHA developments in South Brooklyn: O’Dwyer Gardens, Gravesend Houses, Haber Houses, Coney Island Houses, and Coney Island (Site 8). Made possible through $1.7 million in City funding, Clean Curbs for All aims to reduce the pest population at NYCHA developments by removing a vital food source, while mitigating the cumbersome and dangerous physical lifting and handling of trash; pollution and noise associated with garbage pick-ups; and large open sources of trash on the curb, leading to cleaner developments and grounds. The program corresponds to NYCHA’s overall transformation efforts to improve conditions and enhance the quality of life of residents since the signing of the 2019 Agreement with the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD), with pests and waste a key pillar area.

As part of the HUD Agreement, NYCHA committed to containerize its waste in pest-proof containers. Slated to begin in the first half of 2024, and anticipated to run for two years, the Clean Curbs for All pilot will yield a flexible containerization solution for curbside pickup at NYCHA sites that, if successful, could be implemented across the one-third of NYCHA’s portfolio where larger scale containerization is not feasible. This solution could potentially address 33.5 tons of material daily.

“By containerizing waste, our administration is kicking rats to the curb and out of our city — and with the Clean Curbs for All initiative, we are bringing the same proven tools that are working for New Yorkers across the city directly to our public housing,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams. “Improving quality of life for NYCHA residents has been a top priority for our administration since day one. And by closing the lid on the ineffective strategies that rats love, we will keep 3,650 tons of trash off our NYCHA residents’ streets and unlock a cleaner, more sustainable city for all New Yorkers.”

"NYCHA and the whole of this administration have committed to a cleaner, safer city, and the Clean Curbs for All program is a great step forward for this vision," said Deputy Mayor for Housing, Economic Development and Workforce Maria Torres-Springer. "NYCHA tenants deserve the most cutting-edge sanitation strategies, and this is one more example of how the City's collaboration with NYCHA has improved public housing residents' quality of life."

"All New Yorkers deserve clean curbs," said Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi. "NYCHA is bringing its trash management into the 21st century, improving the cleanliness of its campuses and doing it all with electric trucks. Clean Curbs for All is a win for NYCHA residents, a win for our environment, and a big loss for the rats."

“We are reshaping trash collection at NYCHA through the Clean Curbs for All program,” said NYCHA Chief Executive Officer Lisa Bova-Hiatt. “We are deploying proven modern processes that will help aid in our compliance with a key HUD agreement pillar area to facilitate clean, healthy spaces for NYCHA residents and the surrounding communities. We thank Mayor Adams and the City of New York for funding this pilot program, and for the support to pursue innovative, sustainable solutions at NYCHA."

“The amount of waste left on the curb represents an opportunity to test out a technology to containerize and service waste at the scale required by NYCHA,” said NYCHA Chief Operating Officer Eva Trimble. “Clean Curbs for All provides us the opportunity to advance the Authority’s goal of waste containerization in pest-proof containers, as outlined in the HUD Agreement on waste management.”

“Sustainability for all is at the core of our initiatives and we are hopeful that the combination of thoughtful containerization and electric trucks in this new program will set our buildings up for better waste management, greater ability to recycle, and cleaner air where we service,” said NYCHA Senior Vice President for Sustainability Vlada Kenniff.

“After many months of hard work from all parties, we are pleased that NYCHA selected our team,” said WasteTech Solutions LLC Chief Executive Officer Diego Barberena. “This is a big step for New York City, catching up with best waste collection practices used in Europe. We think that mechanically lifted, high-capacity containers are a great solution to the City’s waste collection challenges.”

“My seniors and I appreciate the effort being put forth to eliminate the traffic of rodents and their access to garbage on the street,” said Tenant Association President for Haber Houses Linda Harrison. “This appears to be something we may be able to work with and sustain. I'm hoping it works! Thank you, NYCHA.”

“Across New York City, one thing is clear: New Yorkers want the trash off the sidewalks and into secure, rodent-resistant containers, and this pilot will do just that. In addition to the program NYCHA is announcing today, DSNY is implementing a substantial pilot for containerization on 10 residential blocks in Hamilton Heights, as well as fully containerizing 14 nearby schools. This, combined with our new rules requiring commercial containerization for many businesses, mean the City is finally moving ahead with containerization after years of little but talk,” said New York City Department of Sanitation Commissioner Jessica Tisch.

“The Clean Curbs for All pilot exemplifies a sustainable, collaborative, holistic approach to open space improvement, reducing pollution and noise while improving quality of life for NYCHA residents,” said Acting Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office of Climate & Environmental Justice Victoria Cerullo. “Sustainable elements like electric trucks, which can be a model for future EV purchases, move our City closer to achieving our PlaNYC: Getting Sustainability Done goal to get polluting trucks off New York City streets.”

"I am thrilled to learn that NYCHA’s pilot for waste containers in the street is moving forward,” said Center for Zero Waste Design Executive Director Clare Miflin. “In 2017, the Zero Waste Design Guidelines provided case studies showing this solution being successfully used in other cities, and we have continued to advocate for their use in this city. Hoist-lifted containers can be designed into streetscapes in a space efficient way, are easy to keep clean and better for waste management staff. Electric collection trucks are quieter and don’t pollute the air. This solution is applicable beyond NYCHA to much of the city, and we’re sure will be closely watched by many. A first for NYC, this pilot could prove to be the pivotal step towards a cleaner City.”

With WasteTech LLC supplying the containers, hoist equipment, and leased trucks, staff and residents will bring trash and recyclables directly to the curbside containers, which will be sized to accommodate the development’s volume of waste. The containers will be placed around the perimeter of the developments in areas convenient for drop-off and accessible for hoist-lifted collection. NYCHA staff previously piled bags of waste onto the curb in coordination with established New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY) set-out times, but will now deposit waste directly in the large, pest-resistant containers at any time, dramatically reducing mobility hindrances on the sidewalk, eliminating rodent food sources, and keeping the sidewalk clean.

NYCHA will service the containers with two electric refuse trucks, outfitted with a semi-automated hoist, minimizing pollution and noise from idling, with the goal of proving the operational viability of a more efficient and cleaner method of waste collection in New York City. Over the two-year pilot, NYCHA is expected to keep over 3,650 tons of trash and recyclables off the curb, improving the cleanliness of the grounds for 4,000 residents at the five pilot developments.

NYCHA, in collaboration with DSNY and the Department of Transportation (DOT), will use the two-year pilot to gather data on waste collection and servicing with this technology, as well as inform guidelines for siting and maintaining containers at NYCHA and assess its potential for a more widespread implementation.

The Clean Curbs for All program is guided by commitments in NYCHA’s Sustainability Agenda to re-envision waste management and recycling. Informed by 10 months of engagement with NYCHA residents, City agencies, community-based organizations, and technical experts, the Authority’s agenda focuses on taking a holistic approach to building renovations and community needs.


About the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA)

The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), the largest public housing authority in North America, was created in 1935 to provide decent, affordable housing for low- and moderate-income New Yorkers. NYCHA is home to 1 in 17 New Yorkers, providing affordable housing to 528,105 authorized residents through public housing and Permanent Affordability Commitment Together (PACT) programs as well as Section 8 housing. NYCHA has 177,569 apartments in 2,411 buildings across 335 conventional public housing and PACT developments. In addition, NYCHA connects residents to critical programs and services from external and internal partners, with a focus on economic opportunity, youth, seniors, and social services. With a housing stock that spans all five boroughs, NYCHA is a city within a city.