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A Recovery for All of Us: Mayor de Blasio, New York City Department of Sanitation Announce New Initiatives for a Clean, Healthy New York

March 30, 2021

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced three new initiatives to maintain clean streets across New York City and help spur on the City’s recovery. These initiatives build on additional resources and programs launched last September to provide essential cleaning resources and tools in neighborhoods hardest hit by the COVID-19 crisis.

“A recovery for all of us means a healthy city, and that requires a clean city,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “I’ve seen first-hand the work of the Department of Sanitation throughout this pandemic, and I know they’ll do whatever it takes to get the job done. "

"Open space, including on our streets, has become more critical than ever during the pandemic," said Deputy Mayor for Operations Laura Anglin. "With these initiatives we’re ensuring our streets are cleaner and more welcoming for all. Department of Sanitation workers have been heroes throughout this crisis and now they’ll help lead the way to recovery.”

“New York City is getting back on its feet, and New Yorkers deserve to place their feet on clean streets,” said Edward Grayson, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Sanitation. "Restoration of baseline funding for basket service, the community clean-up van, and PCI mean more ways for Sanitation and our neighbors across the City to work together. Use litter baskets properly, for small items like coffee cups – never for household or business trash – and call us to report an urgent issue or schedule a community clean-up.”

This announcement includes an increase in dedicated litter basket service by more than 100 trucks per week and restores funding for Sunday litter basket service. When added to service restorations announced in September, dedicated litter basket collection service has increased by 61 percent compared to last July at the height of the financial crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Department of Sanitation has also created an all-new Precision Cleaning Initiative, with borough-based teams to conduct targeted cleanings of litter conditions, illegal dumping, and overflowing litter baskets. These conditions are eyesores that affect New Yorkers’ quality of life and threaten NYC’s recovery. Teams will be dispatched based on DSNY field observations, 311 complaints and referrals from other City agencies and community groups.

In addition, DSNY unveiled the design for its new Community Clean-up Van in partnership with the Sanitation Foundation and NYC Service. The van, along with investments in additional tools and resources for community groups, will support neighborhood cleanups across NYC as part of a Citywide Spring Cleanup effort.

These announcements come as the City engages in an equity-based recovery, and will empower communities to work with DSNY to produce cleaner streets for all of us. New Yorkers interested in joining or hosting a community cleanup can call 311 for more information.

"New Yorkers are the experts in caring for their neighborhoods," said NYC Chief Service Officer Anusha Venkataraman. "Through the Community Clean-up Van partnership, we are powering local initiatives with the resources to ensure all of our streets are healthy and clean."

“The Sanitation Foundation exists in part to advance the City’s ambitious zero-waste goals. We are thrilled to help fund this new Community Clean-up Van as part of that mission, helping keep neighborhoods clean for all New Yorkers,” said Julie Raskin, Executive Director of the Sanitation Foundation.

"New Yorkers want and deserve cleaner streets, which is why this Council has been vocal about the need for increased trash pickup. Today's announcement is welcome news, particularly as the weather gets warmer and more New Yorkers resume pre-pandemic activities. This is a win for everyone," said Speaker Corey Johnson.

“Litter begets more litter. The sad reality is people are more inclined to litter when they see litter around them. We simply need to remove as much of it from our streets and communities as we can. And as we are doing that, we need to educate and inspire New Yorkers to work with us to keep our city as litter-free as possible,” said Borough President James S. Oddo.

“Preserving and maintaining the cleanliness of our city is a crucial quality of life issue for all New Yorkers," said Senator Andrew Gounardes. "I applaud our frontline sanitation workers, and the Mayor’s new initiatives which will help us promote public health, engage in meaningful action on the ground with neighborhoods hit hardest by the pandemic, and give substantial support to the vital public services we rely on every day to keep this city beautiful."

"I’m glad to see last year’s cuts in sanitation service being restored. This increase in litter basket service, restoration of Sunday litter basket service, and precise neighborhood-targeted clean-up vans will be a welcome addition across my district and Manhattan. These services will improve quality of life, reduce rats, and give New Yorkers the confidence that life will soon return to normal after the pandemic is over. I’m thankful to the Mayor and the Sanitation Department for their efforts," said Senator Brad Hoylman.

, "I'm very glad to learn about the Mayor's initiative for DSNY to increase waste basket pickups because the trash cans are overflowing in many neighborhoods I represent, especially in Northern Manhattan. Quite frankly, it's not just an eyesore; it reflects a lack of investment in our communities that this initiative will work to correct. I look forward to this increased attention to basket service in our working-class and Black and Brown neighborhoods and thank City Hall for making it happen,” said Senator Robert Jackson.

"I've heard from many constituents who are concerned about increased trash on streets and sidewalks in our district. New Yorkers want and deserve clean, tidy streets-- especially in neighborhoods that have been historically underserved. I'm grateful to the mayor and to DSNY for stepping up litter collection and the PCI program which will maintain and improve our quality of life and ensure our communities are safe, healthy and pleasant places to live and work," said Senator Zellnor Myrie.

"As we continue to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, we must welcome New Yorkers back to normal life with a clean City — and this plan does just that. An increase in litter basket service and the Precision Cleaning initiative will allow us to clean up the City through targeted cleanings and will combat illegal dumping to ensure our neighborhoods’ beauty is always on display,” said Senator Kevin Parker.

“I am pleased that Mayor de Blasio and the Department of Sanitation are launching this new initiative”, said Senator Roxanne J. Persaud. “Department of Sanitation workers have the arduous task of keeping our city clean with limited resources. I have seen an increase in illegal dumping in many areas and, with the assistance of the residents of our communities, this initiative will make our city healthy and clean.” 

"As a neat freak myself, I thank the Mayor for creating an initiative close to my heart. We're all spending more time at home-- with food waste and assessing what we really need in life, the trash is piling up. These services will clean our streets, revive the life of the City, and ensure New York post pandemic will be better than it ever has been," said Senator Dianne Savino.

“I am encouraged and heartened to see that the Mayor’s Office has announced an increase in dedicated litter basket service, a Precision Cleaning initiative to conduct targeted cleaning, and new Community Clean-up Vans to support city-wide neighborhood cleanups. I applaud this effort from the Mayor’s office to improve quality of life and ensure fair trash pickup, critical to our city’s public health and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. We look forward to ensuring that these initiatives are equitable, positively impacting communities in Southeast Queens and all of New York City,” said Assembly Member Khaleel Anderson.

“My office constantly gets complaints from residents who are fed up with overflowing trash baskets and with streets that were made filthy by litter and illegally dumped garbage,” said Assembly Member Steven Cymbrowitz. “I’m pleased that the city is undertaking these initiatives to clean up our streets and improve the quality of life in our communities.”

"Clean streets are a fundamental component towards the fostering of civic pride that underpins strong communities. I am very pleased to see the restoration of Sanitation services and the new, targeted Precision Cleaning initiative, and thank Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Grayson for their attention to our streets," said Assembly Member Jeffrey Dinowitz said.

"As New Yorkers emerge from a long and difficult year, I am thrilled that the Mayor is committing more resources to deal with litter in our parks and on our streets. We all deserve a clean environment and I am grateful to the Department of Sanitation for their dedicated service," said Assembly Member Emily Gallagher.

"A clean city is a necessary part of our recovery," said Assembly Member Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn. "Litter isn't just an eyesore, it's a community health hazard that Brooklynites have increasingly struggled with throughout the pandemic. Restoration of litter basket service on Sunday's, coupled with new initiatives like PCI, promise to help improve New Yorkers quality of life and remove pollutants and environmental hazards from our communities. I thank the mayor and DSNY for working on creative solutions to these longstanding problems."

“The Bronx has been neglected for far too long when it comes to clean streets. I walk around my district in complete disbelief by the amount of trash that I see. I’m grateful to know that the Mayor has made an investment in making sure we have adequate trash pick-up. This will reduce the rodents and help beautify our neighborhoods,” said Assembly Member Chantel Jackson.

"Bronx families truly want cleaner communities for our children, seniors and working people to enjoy, and these renewed investments in our quality of life are deeply appreciated," Assembly Member Latoya Joyner said. "I look forward to working with the administration as our City recovers from the effects of COVID-19."

“An increased investment in New York City Department of Sanitation, the Precision Cleaning initiative, and Community Clean-up Vans are signals to New Yorkers that clean and beautiful communities for all are an important part of our recovery as a city,” said Assembly Member Cathy Nolan.

“I welcome the new initiatives announced today by Mayor de Blasio and the Department of Sanitation because they are, in essence, a back-to-basics approach that will encourage communities to come together and empower them to address the quality of life in their neighborhood,” said Assembly Member Michael Reilly. “For tight-knit communities, especially like those on Staten Island, this has the potential to be a significant benefit if properly implemented.”

"Last year’s budget cuts to sanitation services hit my district hard, which impacted our residents, small businesses, and visitors alike,” said Council Member Adrienne Adams. “Restoring baseline funding for litter basket service, the launch of the Precision Cleaning Initiative, and the new Community Clean-Up Vans will go a long way toward making our streets and commercial corridors cleaner and healthier for everyone. Our communities deserve clean streets and improved quality of life as we recover from this pandemic.”

“Basic quality of life services took a big hit due to COVID budget cuts – and these were cuts every neighborhood literally felt overnight. A clean and safe community is the foundation for everything else so this is yet another fantastic sign that New York City is coming back strong. DSNY workers have one of the most thankless, demanding, and important jobs in our city. We leave our trash behind and expect it to disappear. We don't even notice when it does but everyone screams when it doesn't. This funding will help make their lives easier as well. Getting our city back on its feet starts with clean streets. This is very good news," said Council Member Justin Brannan.

"I applaud Mayor de Blasio's effort to have a cleaner New York City. Community clean up vans in partnership with sanitation is an important venture for our city and communities. Districts like ours need community clean-up vans because environmental justice, climate change, and clean streets all go together.  We must make sure our environment is clean for our businesses, children, and livelihoods," Council Member Darma Díaz.

“I want to commend the Mayor’s Office and the Department of Sanitation for their partnership on the Precision Cleaning Initiative. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become even more critical that we focus on keeping our streets clear of litter and garbage, and I am most appreciative to those who have dedicated their time and energy towards this monumental undertaking. The cleanliness of our neighborhoods is a major factor in maintaining a comfortable quality of life for hardworking New Yorkers, and this is an area where we must continue to provide resources that resolve the issue. I am confident that by creating a stronger infrastructure to support our city’s massive sanitation system, we will be able to provide the necessary clean-up services that ensure our communities remain clean and sustainable for future generations,” Council Member Mathieu Eugene.

"The COVID-19 pandemic devastated our local economy and significantly impacted trash pick-up services throughout the five boroughs," said Council Member Vanessa L. Gibson. "New Yorkers deserve clean streets, and these new initiatives are essential in ensuring our neighborhoods remain clean as we work towards an equitable and fair recovery for all."

"Cleaner streets are vital to New York City's recovery. Additional trucks and crews will make a significant difference," said Council Member Ben Kallos. "New York City is already known as the City that never sleeps, we cannot be known as the City that never cleans. I commend Mayor Bill de Blasio for understanding that this is a crucial part of the recovery and setting aside resources to address it. My constituents and I thank the Mayor and the Sanitation Department for taking this on right now.”

"The City's decision to restore Sunday litter basket service is welcome news," said Council Member Peter Koo. "Last year's service cuts left our litter baskets overflowing and bags piled up on street corners, especially on the weekends along our busiest commercial corridors. As the weather gets warmer and more people spend their time outdoors, additional Sunday service means cleaner streets and an improved quality of life for all New Yorkers."

“These new initiatives are a step in the right direction toward restoring our city. New York’s Strongest do a great job of keeping our streets clean under the leadership of Middle Village’s own Commissioner Edward Grayson and they should have all the funding and tools they need to keep our neighborhoods clean and healthy,” said Council Member Robert Holden.

"The Department of Sanitation has always been a vital partner in preserving the environmental health, safety, and sustainability of our communities. By restoring funding and litter basket service while spurring neighborhood cleanups, we are taking a major step forward to provide a much-needed service for all New Yorkers, especially during the post-pandemic recovery. We need to ensure we provide quality of life with the support of New York's Strongest to keep us moving in the right direction,” said Council Member Farah N. Louis.

“During the pandemic and its aftermath last year, we saw firsthand how vital DSNY service is in maintaining the cleanliness of our commercial corridors and city streets. With the worst of the pandemic now behind us, we are more than looking forward to the restoration of full service and ensuring that our communities are kept clean, and residents are able to once again enjoy the quality of life they deserve,” said Council Member I. Daneek Miller.

"A clean neighborhood is about having quality of life and throughout this pandemic, our community together with my office and partners like DSNY and ACE have worked towards reducing the garbage issues. The restoration of funding and the launch of these new initiatives are much needed and will ensure that our streets are a place New Yorkers can be proud of, especially across the hardest hit neighborhoods. This is one step in how we improve quality of life for the most vulnerable communities," said Council Member Francisco Moya.

“The quality of life for New Yorker’s is essential to the recovery of our City as we move forward from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Council Member Kevin C. Riley. “The restoration of funding to support litter basket services, especially on Sunday’s, plays a huge role in the lives of many residents, like the residents of District 12. I commend the Department of Sanitation and Mayor de Blasio on the announcement of the Precision Cleaning Initiative. This initiative is essential to combating illegal dumping and many of the eyesores that plague our neighborhoods. I look forward to working with Commissioner Grayson and the DSNY team to address these quality of life issues not only for the residents of District 12 but all New Yorkers.”

“I want to thank Mayor de Blasio for restoring funding for critical trash collection in my District and across the City. These kinds of investments, alongside new programs like the Precision Cleaning Initiative, will be critical as New York City continues its recovery from COVID-19 and more people flock to our streets. I look forward to working with the Mayor to address other sanitation policies, including the restoration of compost programs and piloting sealed, on street garbage and recycling containers,” said Council Member Carlina Rivera.

“I applaud Mayor de Blasio and DSNY Commissioner Edward Grayson for taking initiative to improve the cleaning of our city, especially in underserved communities. We need to make sure we’re keeping our streets cleaned to prevent them from becoming breading grounds for pathogens and virus’s,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez. “As with all recovery initiatives, we need to make sure that we’re prioritizing all low-income, Black, Latino, and Asian communities. I look forward to working alongside Mayor de Blasio, DSNY Commissioner Edward Grayson, advocates, and community residents to ensure we’re keeping all streets cleaned."

"Litter is increasingly becoming an eyesore that threatens our city’s recovery. Today’s three-pronged announcement of increased litter basket service, precision cleaning initiative and support for neighborhood cleanups will help to remove these eyesores and bring cleaner neighborhoods that will boost health, happiness and quality of life. This is an important complement to our City Council-funded Cleanup NYC initiative, all of which needs to be matched with a reminder that littering is both inconsiderate and illegal," said Council Member Debi Rose.

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