Rat plague in NY worsens and businesses are forced to have special trash cans

New York City is launching its new battle plan in its war against rats. After naming a rat czar last April, Mayor Eric Adams announced his next goal: garbage from companies and premises related to food. Restaurants, supermarkets and bodegas will now be required to use containers for their trash in an effort to combat the rat problem in New York City.

In her announcement Wednesday, Adams signed a rule requiring all food-related businesses to place their trash in secure bins. The administration detailed plans to expand containerization requirements to all retail chains with five or more locations in the city.

“Today, we take giant steps toward the goal (of clean streets) by announcing new rules to contain trash in our city that, when finalized, will cover 25 percent of businesses and result in 4 million pounds (one thousand 814 tons) of trash are disposed of in secure bins every day,” Adams said.

This new plan would also affect wineries, delicatessens and grocery stores. This rule will go into effect on July 30, 2023. Department of Sanitation Commissioner Jessica Tisch said that the black bags outside food-related businesses basically serve as a “carry-out box” for rats. Deputy Mayor for Operations Meer Joshi hoped the rule would be another step towards the end of the “garbage bag mountains”.

“Nobody wants to see it, nobody wants to smell it, and we certainly don’t want rats to eat it,” Tisch said.

Under these two rules, the companies will have flexibility in the type and location of containers, as long as they have a secure lid and sides. Containers may be stored within the establishment or within three feet of the property line. Some restaurant owners hearing the news expressed their concerns.

“Some of the restaurants have a lot of trash. They are going to use at least seven containers,” said Basudeb Shaha, owner of the Bombay Grill House on 9th Avenue.

Shaha says yesit will be difficult for some to store the containers when not in use, and the Hospitality Alliance of New York City agrees.

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The alliance said Wednesday that it supports “containerized garbage, but as initially proposed, the mandate of the Department of Sanitation it is impractical and creates big problems for small restaurants that will have to stock large dirty trash cans in their food preparation and customer seating areas or leave thousands of trash bins permanently strewn on sidewalks across the city.”

Still, the owner is willing to give the plan a try, saying that if it keeps the rats at bay, that’s a good thing.

“This is a good idea because sometimes you put the plastic bag outside, the mouse comes… this is disgusting, I don’t like it like this. This is a good idea,” Shaha said.


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