- New York City subway riders are leaving 36% to 66% less trash in stations where the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has removed trash cans, and those stations have fewer rats and bugs. Removal of the cans also alleviates work for station employees.
- The pilot program began in October 2011 when cans were removed from one station in Queens and one in Manhattan. Riders balked at first, dropping their trash on the platform. Once MTA asked riders for their cooperation, they began to take their trash with them.
- MTA added more stations to the pilot program and plans to keep it going for another six to 12 months, while continuing to study the results.
Perhaps NYC residents are beginning to think about their disposal habits, or maybe cautious efforts will die out, but the MTA's pilot program seems to be working ..for now.
"This pilot appears counterintuitive, but when we placed notices at the pilot stations indicating that the cans had been removed and asked the customers for their cooperation, it looks like they listened," MTA President Carmen Bianco told the New York Post.
Similar "reverse psychology" initiatives have been done to try to alter the waste disposal habits of consumers. The University of Iowa removed bins from classrooms and placed them in hallways, reporting a cost savings from reduced uses of trash liners.