the garbage police

did you know nyc employs an entire force of  ‘garbage police’?  they most likely go by some other title like, sanitation executive or something,  i’m not sure. you might think that with an entire force of garbage cops, the side walks wouldn’t be littered with menus and cvs and walgreens flyers – but no – that’s not their job! they allow restaurants, cvs and walgreens to litter piles of their flyers and menus all over the sidewalks and door steps because they have a more important job to tend to. 

the nyc department of sanitation works 365 days a year 24 / 7 collecting garbage. with over 7 million residents you can understand why it is necessary to have garbage collection even on christmas. they never stop. so each day after 5:00 the building maintenence people load big black trash bags out onto the sidewalk for early morning pick up. each block has assigned days for regular trash, several for recyclables only, and specific dates for the big stuff like refrigerators and furniture. some buildings pay a private collection company so that they don’t have to abide by the city schedule so there are always bags upon bags of trash waiting to be collected. and thank god we have the garbage police to manage it all!

the garbage police are like meter maids – only worse. they ticket building owners for inappropriate garbage. now this is the most ridiculous job invented so far and here’s why;  their charge is to make sure all the right garbage is  in the right bags on the appropriate days. they step over all of the trash strewn along the sidewalk, open the garbage bags, root though people’s kitchen and bathroom trash in search of a recyclable. ‘recyclable’ days are even more productive as they sift through the plastics bacause only certain plastics belong there. if a building resident thought s/he was doing the responsible thing by placing a plastic food container in the recycle bin marked ‘plastics only’, the building owner gets a ticket! that kind of plastic goes in the regular trash bin. this is the job of the garbage police. you can find them out in full force towards the end of the month when quotas must be met. i don’t know what they do on the other days. . .

73rd st garbage

73rd st garbage

garbage ticket

garbage ticket



“Never continue in a job you don’t enjoy. If you’re happy in what you’re doing, you’ll like yourself, you’ll have inner peace. And if you have that, along with physical health, you’ll have more success than you could possibly have imagined.”
 Roger Caras

4 responses to “the garbage police

  1. Richard Feinman

    I received a ticket which said “I did observe 1 garbage can & (2) cardboard boxes placed out on the public sidewalk on a non-collection day.” Collection day was the next day and 5 PM was the time for putting out garbage for the next day. The ticket was at 2 PM. I wrote to them explaining that I was actually out of town on that day but I haven’t heard from them (about 2 months). What’s especially annoying is that it reflects poorly on the Sanitation Department which are primarily the guys who really do the work and who have a really tough job which is done well. I’m just guessing but I bet the guys who really do the work are not paid as much as the inspectors.


  2. Wow, that is ridiculous. Can’t that money be better spent?


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