If you take away the subway platform trash cans, will there be less subway platform trash? The MTA, which clears 40 tons of trash a day from its system, is very interested in finding an answer to that very zen question. So interested, in fact, they've gone and removed the trash bins at the 8th Street N and R station in Manhattan and the Main St. station in Queens for the next two months. Guess those 5,000 new trash can logos they've been putting all over the system weren't doing the trick?
The two stations have actually been bin-less for the last two weeks and so far the results have been mixed. According to John Gaito, a subway vice president who supervises trash collection, on 8th Street it appears to be working and people are packing their trash with them, but in Flushing? Not so much.
And riders and their representatives certainly aren't loving the idea! "They’ll more than likely toss it. Nobody wants to walk around with trash in their hand," one rider told the Times. "NYC Transit doesn't have the money to keep stations clean. So even a ridiculous idea sounds good to them," advocate Gene Russianoff of the Straphangers Campaign told the News.
Taking away trash cans to reduce trash (which reminds us of traffic calming techniques that remove lanes to reduce traffic) is not a new idea. PATH trains haven't had trash bins since 2001, and some Underground stations in London have no bins. But also? When Washington D.C. tried the same tactic it had to bring them back because of rider complaints.
Will it work in New York? We'd guess no—we are not a famously clean city—but doing an experiment isn't the worst idea the MTA has ever had.