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Syracuse residents to receive new trash carts starting this week

Trash bins sit outside houses on S Beech St. Syracuse, NY, Mar. 7, 2022.
Maxwell Mimaroglu
Trash bins sit outside houses along South Beech Street in Syracuse last year. This week, city officials announced covered trash carts will now be provided to residents.

This week, city officials announced new covered trash carts will be distributed to residents in an effort to make trash pickups safer and more efficient.

The new trash carts are nearly 4 feet tall and can hold up to 96 gallons of trash. The carts will be lifted by a mechanical arm on the garbage truck, reducing the risk of injuries for sanitation workers, according to Mayor Ben Walsh. 

“Our sanitation workers — or warriors as we call them —literally do backbreaking work," Walsh said. "They pick up virtually anything that's put out on the curb, and in doing so, they often get injured. Our workers comp rates are through the roof, and the system was just simply not sustainable."

The trash carts will be issued to nearly 7,000 properties in the city during the last week of May. Residents that receive the new carts are required to begin using them for trash disposal beginning the week of June 5.

Failure to properly dispose of trash will result in a $350 fine. Additionally, residents must keep trash carts stored out of sight when they aren’t being used. Corey Driscoll Dunham, chief operating officer for the city, recommends keeping unused trash carts behind the house or in the garage.

“These are some of the changes that we're implementing as we roll out the cart program," Driscoll Dunham began, "trash needs to be bagged. If you do not put your trash in the cart, we are going to consider that an illegal set out. Everyone must use the cart. That way we can make sure that the city is cleaner, our workplace is safer and we have a more consistent way to dispose of solid waste."

The new carts are free of charge to residents and will come with instructions on use, including what to do with the previous trash receptacles. Walsh suggests residents indicate their old trash cans are to be disposed of by clearly writing "trash" on the old can to ensure sanitation workers know to pick them up.

Part of the administration’s main focus has been to produce tangible changes to the city, Walsh added. The new covered trash carts are in addition to other programs the administration has implemented such as the smart streetlight network, the municipal sidewalk program and the sidewalk snow clearance initiative.

“You can judge how an administration is doing by whether or not when someone looks out their front door, they can see the impact of the administration,” Walsh said.

The mayor and city councilors are also hopeful the new carts will result in less litter in neighborhoods.

“I’m very excited to see this change come through with the great efforts that we have here in the city of Syracuse to help make it better, safer and cleaner with our litter, debris and trash that we have throughout the city,” said Councilor-at-Large Amir Gethers.

Phase one is projected to last for the remainder of the summer. The administration and the Common Council plans to initiate phase two in the early Fall.

Officials ask that residents call the city line at (315) 448-2489 or visit questions.

Marissa Carello is an undergraduate student studying magazine journalism at Syracuse University, expected to graduate in May 2025. As a student contributor at WAER, Marissa helps produce digital and radio stories.

Morgan Caviness is an undergraduate student who just earned her associates degree at Onondaga Community College for Broadcast Media and Communications and plans to continue studying Broadcast and Mass Communication at SUNY Oswego where she is expected to graduate May of 2025. As a student contributor at WAER, Morgan helps produce digital radio stories.