New Trash Enclosure Bins, Sponsored by the Union Square Partnership, Local Elected Officials, and NYU’s Office of Sustainability, Will Eliminate Leaky Trash Bags Outside NYU’s Carlyle Residence Hall

NYU officials, Union Square Partnership Deputy Director Ed Janoff and City Council Member Erik Bottcher hoist trash bags into NYU"s new Clean Curb bins on the sidewalk outside Carlyle Court.
NYU officials join with members of the Union Square Partnership and City Council Member Erik Bottcher (far left) to inaugurate NYU's first Clean Curb bins outside Carlyle Court. (Photo: Carol Ourivio/NYU OPA)

As part of a pilot initiative designed to rid New York’s sidewalks and streets of leaky piles of trash bags, Union Square Partnership and NYU today installed new trash enclosure bins at 21 East 15th Street, outside its Carlyle Court residence hall, located at 25 Union Square West. The bins were acquired through a grant from the City of New York Department of Sanitation, which provides funding for measures that clean up New York City curbs through the Union Square Partnership Business Improvement District.

“We’re delighted to be welcoming our students back to cleaner and safer sidewalks, and to be part of improving the quality of life for all those who live and work in the Union Square area,” said Cecil Scheib, Chief Sustainability Officer at NYU.  “These measures require support and the coordinated efforts of a multitude of players—the Union Square Partnership, the NYC Departments of Sanitation and Transportation, local elected officials, and so many more. With these new bins, we’re initiating a proof-of-concept that we hope to replicate across our campus, and share lessons learned that could be spread across NYC.”

With about 740 students, Carlyle Court produces somewhere between 4,000-5,000 pounds of trash per week. While this is less than half the waste per capita created by the average New Yorker, it translates to more than 4360 pounds of trash every week that can linger on the streets for days—obstructing the path of passersby, emitting unpleasant odors and spillage, and attracting rodents. With the new bins, these bags will be sealed within a solid structure that will be regularly emptied by the City Department of Sanitation and cleaned by NYU Facilities Management.

“New York University is an active and critical part of our Union Square community, and we are delighted to be partnering with them to reduce trash on our neighborhood’s sidewalks,” said Tali Cantor, Director of Planning, Union Square Partnership. “As street life at Union Square returns to its pre-pandemic levels of activity, we need to anticipate and respond to our shifting quality of life issues. Though trash containment is a seemingly simple thing, I’m confident that this initiative will provide immediate benefits to the pedestrian environment in our community."

Trash enclosure bins, though effective in reducing clutter and street grime, require extensive coordination between the Department of Transportation (for street placement), the Department of Sanitation (for appropriate design for pick-up), and local community boards (for community review and approval). 

“Getting trash off our sidewalks is the future and this is another important step,” said Council Member Erik Bottcher. "The status quo of mountains of trash bags impeding our sidewalks and serving as a buffet for rats is unacceptable. I'm grateful that NYU and the Union Square Partnership BID have partnered to make this common sense improvement for New Yorkers."

NYU Office of Sustainability

The Clean Curbs Pilot Program is one of the quality-of-life initiatives supported by the NYU Office of Sustainability and NYU Facilities & Construction Management, which in addition to advocating for projects that reduce waste and improve air quality, is focused on helping NYU achieve its goal of carbon neutrality by the year 2040. Over the last several years, the NYU Sustainability helped spearhead a variety of environmentally friendly University policies, including the elimination of single use plastic bottles on campus, the reduction of NYU’s greenhouse gas emissions by 7% in its food purchases, committing to LEED silver or higher certifications for all our new construction projects, among others. 


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