Snow Removal or Garbage Pick-Up?

Snow Removal or Garbage Pick-up?

Jessica Podkalicki

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Many New York City residents don’t know that the New York City Department of Sanitation handles more than just our garbage.  The Department’s responsibilities span from snow plowing and removal to solid waste pick-up and recyclable sorting to street cleaning.

However, the moment snow falls in the city, snow becomes the priority.  All of New York City’s manpower and equipment focus on snow removal (mostly plowing via garbage trucks) from streets and highways.   Snow-filled and icy streets are extremely dangerous, so it’s understandable why their removal takes precedence.  On the other hand, while the NYC Department of Sanitation trucks and workers are off removing snow and ice from streets and highways, garbage and recyclables pile up on sidewalks.  This pileup also can be dangerous — for instance, unremoved furniture items can block sidewalks, and unremoved food garbage may lead to increased pests in the neighborhood, such as rats.

The Department of Sanitation has done an admirable job removing and plowing snow this winter. It has been no easy task with the amount of snow the city has received and continues to experience this year. It appears we are stretching this department a little bit too thin lately.

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What are some options for NYC?

  • Creation of an agency or department to handle snow removal and street cleaning specifically

  • Contracting of certain services to private organizations

  • Increase the community volunteer snow removal

  • Increase the facilities of the NYC Department of Sanitation via additional funding


To report missed garbage/recycling pick-up services:

To report pest problems:

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