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Rats! Your NYC trash and recycling schedule is about to change

Written by Super
March 6, 2023
Rats! Your NYC trash and recycling schedule is about to change

Starting April 1st, the Department of Sanitation (DSNY) is changing the rules for when trash, recycling and compost can be put out for collection. What NYC buildings need to know about this change.

While many New Yorkers proudly claimed the pizza rat as a mascot—a herculean little rodent carrying a full slice of pizza down a New York subway steps—new regulation is coming aimed at curbing the rat population in NYC and keeping the streets cleaner.

The change, enforced starting April 1st, focuses on new "waste set-out times." The purpose is to decrease the amount of time food waste is left on the curb. This means that come April, the times at which trash, recycling, and compost can be put out at the curb for collection are changing. This may seem like a small shift—just a few hours difference—but because of the nature of the time change, this will require some inconvenient changes in staffing for putting out garbage and recycling.

So what's changing for residential buildings?

It used to be you could leave trash, recycling, and compost on the curb between 4pm-12am. According to the Department of Sanitation (DSNY), under the new rules, residential buildings have three options.

  1. If you leave items in a secure container, it may be put outafter 6pm and before 12am. Bundled cardboard can also be placed next to the container.
  2. If you place items in bags directly on the curb, it must be put out after 8pm and before 12am.
  3. If a building has 9+ residential units, the property owner or manager may opt-in to a set-out window from 4am-7am instead. This opt-in period is only available in the month of January for the route taking effect April 1. 

I want to leave trash out after 6pm. What is a secure container?

If you want to leave your trash out starting after 6pm, you will need to leave items in a secure container. Secure containers are considered bins under 55 gallons with tightly sealed lids. While this may be a benefit for scheduling, it also means you must retrieve your containers on time as well. The secure containers must be retrieved by 9pm on pickup day if your pickup is before 4pm. If your pickup is after 4pm, they must be retrieved by 9am the following morning.

I leave trash out in bags directly on the curb. What does this mean for me?

You now need to change your trash and recycling set-out time to be between 8pm-12am. This means that you will need to plan building staff schedules outside of normal working hours to set out trash and recycling the night before the building's collection days.

But my staff are not available after 5pm!

This is a meaningful change in staffing and scheduling that buildings will need to work through. The DSNY has said that enforcement of the new set-out times will begin promptly, so this is not a scheduling issue that can be delayed. Their analogy: remember how difficult rolling out recycling programs was 30 years ago? Buildings figured out how to get through that, and will need to also figure out how to coordinate these schedule changes.

How do I request to opt-in to the 4am-7am set-out window?

Unfortunately, it is past the deadline to opt-in for the rest of 2023. The next opt-in period will begin January 1-31, 2024 and can be found from Remember, your building must have at least 9 units to qualify.

What about commercial buildings?

Commercial buildings may use private services for waste management, but even still they must:

  1. Place bagged items on the curb after 8pm.
  2. Place trash and recycling in a secure container one hour before closing.

When are my trash and recycling collection times?

You can check your collection schedule on by inputting your address. Remember that set-out times are for the evening before your scheduled collection day.

Example collection schedule from

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