May 04, 2023 4 min read

Last fall NYC Mayor Adams and Sanitation Commissioner Tisch announced a plan to reduce the hours trash can stay on sidewalks. The idea is that by setting out the garbage a few hours later, rats have less time to prowl the streets of the city looking for their next free meal. On the surface, it’s a great idea. The reality is a bit more complicated and potentially involves some hefty fines.


The new setout laws at a glance:

In the five boroughs of New York City:

The time to set out your garbage has been moved from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

There are two exceptions.

  •  If you have a sealed 55 gallon trash can, you can place your trash at the curb at 6:00 p.m. (otherwise you have to wait until 8:00 p.m. like everyone else).
  • Businesses can place garbage at the curb one hour before closing time.

To make the City of New York Department of Sanitation (DSNY) new setout laws easier to understand, we’ll break down some of the challenges, times, and fees involved. And before you give up hope on figuring out what comes next, CITIBIN trash enclosures are the perfect solution to your trash-related angst. But first, let’s go through the old and new setout times.

What exactly are setout times?
Setout (or set-out, or set out) times are the times of day residents and businesses in New York City can legally put their garbage out for pickup. That used to be 4:00 pm making it easier for porters and supers to finish their work during business hours before heading home.

What are the new setout times?
We should start off by letting you know that it’s a bit confusing and will probably take some time to get used to.

  • Securely closed trash cans: As of April 1, 2023, trash, recycling, and compost can only be placed on sidewalks for pickup after 6:00 p.m. only if you’re using a securely closed trash can at the curb.
  • Trash bags: To make things a bit more complicated, if you’re using trash bags instead of secure containers, you’ll have to wait until after 8:00 pm to take out the trash.
  • Businesses might have some leeway: You might want to double-check with your landlord or block association, but businesses might be able to take out their trash an hour before closing time.
  • A universal rule for all trash: All trash must be set out by midnight.
  • After pickup: You’ll then have to move your receptacles back by 9:00 p.m. on the day your trash is collected.

Still with us?

What happens if I put out my garbage earlier than the setout times?

As tempting as it is to try to get away with sneaking smelly trash out earlier, you might want to resist the urge. While there’s a grace period until May 1, 2023, the city is going to be serious about the new plan. That means substantial fines will be involved. According to the DSNY website, the fines are: $50 (1st Offense); $100 (2nd Offense); $200 (3rd and Subsequent Offenses). Now imagine those fines compounded if you manage multiple properties.

How the new setout laws affect property managers

While the new garbage laws are creating headaches for individual homeowners, property managers face an entirely different dilemma. "Property managers are particularly affected by the new put-out time,” said CITIBIN CEO & Founder Liz Picarazzi. “If you were the super who has always put the trash out at 4 p.m., it's a big change to need to work late to put it out at 8 p.m."; And sometimes an expensive one as well.

CITIBIN COO Frank Picarazzi said the new setout time laws shorten the window that trash can be put out, “which has thrown a lot of property owners into a bit of a state.” He also said property managers now “have to reschedule existing staff, find out who is willing to stay later, probably pay some overtime or probably hire some new people altogether.” Frank added that if it’s a union building, there can be an entirely different set of complications.

CITIBIN trash enclosures offer a clever solution for the new setout times

New York is one of the only major cities without containerization laws for trash, one of the main reasons giant smelly bags of trash line city sidewalks for endless hours. It’s also one of the main reasons rats run wild and can get to the garbage and snack on your leftovers. Hopefully, CITIBIN paired with the new setout times will make it harder for rats to get to your garbage and easier to get your trash to the sidewalk.

CITIBINs are purpose-built, but they also look great. In fact, we had an unexpected cameo in a recent TikTok by Mayor Adamswho showed off how great NYC streets can look when trash is contained.

CITIBIN offers a different option for keeping the sidewalk clean while obeying the new setout laws. A CITIBIN trash enclosure helps to corral the trash. It also makes it easier to haul to the sidewalk at 8:00 p.m. We like the idea that many of our clients use their CITIBIN as a rat-proof holding pen or way station in between the building and the curb.


Frank shared a story about a CITIBIN customer on the Lower East Side who owns a smallish residential unit with four or five units. Sounds cozy, right? The only issue is that the trash room is directly off the lobby, so when things heat up the garbage funk wafts through the lobby. Her solution was to get the trash out of the building as soon as possible. Our extremely smart customer customized a CITIBIN setup that acts as a holding area for garbage. She can move her
trash to the CITIBIN anytime she likes and at any hour. The building’s porter can then empty the CITIBIN on trash day. If they had a private hauler, they could share the combination and not have to worry about setout times at all.

What’s next?
Whether you put out the trash at 6:00 p.m. sharp in a sealed container, wait until 8:00 p.m. to put your giant garbage bags at the curb, or place your business trash outside an hour before closing time, there is definitely going to be a learning curve to the process. Hopefully, there will also be a lot fewer rodents in the city.

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