- New Yorkers called the city's 311 service to complain about missed waste pickups 16,936 times between Jan. 1 and Aug. 1 this year, according to the New York Post. This marks a 26% increase from the same period last year and a 32% increase from 2014.
- June and July had the highest number of complaints with approximately 3,000 each, while February had the fewest. Residents from Queens — the city's second-largest borough — accounted for more than one-third of the calls.
- The city's Department of Sanitation (DSNY) responded to 96% of these requests within five days of receiving them, which is similar to previous years.
A DSNY spokesperson told the Post that snowstorms and potential confusion over changing collection schedules could be among the reasons for missed pickups. While snow can definitely play a role, the fact that many of these calls came during summer months indicate something else may be at play here.
Residents are more apt to notice their waste sitting on the curb during hot months when odors become increasingly potent. Refuse and recyclables aren't picked up on the same day in many neighborhoods so it's also possible that some residents misunderstand what they're supposed to put out. To that end, the 311 data doesn't indicate whether these complaints were valid.
If operational issues are the main source of these complaints, DSNY will need to find ways to address them in the near future. Collection demands will change as the city continues to ramp up its zero waste plan and different pickups are required for different materials. The agency is moving forward with contracts totaling an estimated $47 million to process material collected through the curbside organics program and also aims to implement single-stream recycling by 2020.