Councilman Vince Gentile (D–Bay Ridge) scored a huge victory in his war against the Department of Sanitation last week when the city tightened the rules regarding how recycling violation summonses can be written.
The move comes after months of back and forth between the city and Gentile, who has complained that enforcement agents were giving tickets for minor violations, like putting a single soda can in the trash rather than in the recycling bin.
As a result, Gentile introduced legislation barring inspectors from handing out recycling summonses unless the alleged litterbug had at least five recyclable items in the regular trash. Each item also must be listed on the actual ticket.
“Now if that requirement isn’t followed, we will use their own protocol to [get these tickets] dismissed,” said Gentile. “We don’t think someone who accidentally puts a newspaper or a can in their regular trash, should be punished. It’s excessive.”
But the good news came a few months too late for some residents.
In March, residents of 73rd Street between Fourth and Fifth avenues returned from work to discover litter summonses. One woman even got a ticket for a dirty driveway — even though she didn’t have a driveway!
The Department of Sanitation declined to comment on the new rules.