2003-11-27 / From The Mayor...

Guest Column

John J. Doherty, Sanitation Commissioner
Guest Column John J. Doherty, Sanitation Commissioner

Goodbye Handbills!

By John J. Doherty

Commissioner of Sanitation

How many times do you get into your car, ready to drive away, and discover a handbill under the windshield wiper of your vehicle? These annoying pieces of paper seem to materialize as if by magic … even when you leave your car parked out in the street for just a few minutes!

If you are a conscientious citizen, you take the offending piece of paper and either walk to the corner and throw it into a litter basket or — more often than not — place it inside your vehicle with a mental note to throw it out when you get home.

Unfortunately, there’s another kind of driver… the kind who doesn’t want to be bothered with litter baskets and gets rid of these annoying pieces of paper by throwing them out on to the street or sidewalk. We’ve all seen sidewalks and streets covered with handbills carelessly discarded by irritated drivers or simply scattered by a strong wind.

As the holidays draw nearer, and with them the heavy days of shopping and advertising, handbills and fliers seem to be everywhere.

But there is good news: In the spirit of Thanksgiving, we can now give thanks that relief is finally in sight!

Under Executive Order No. 40, Mayor Bloomberg designated the Department of Sanitation (DSNY) and the New York City Police Department to start enforcing an amended State law prohibiting the placement of handbills and other advertisements on wind-shields or on the rear windows of motor vehicles.

Enforcement began November 1 with fines starting at $75 per handbill, poster, sticker or other form of advertisement. When enforcement agents observe handbills under the windshield wiper or on the rear window of a vehicle, they can now issue a summons to the responsible party advertising on the handbill.

So…goodbye handbills, hello cleaner neighborhoods!

Another change that also took effect on November 1st is a DSNY requirement to place all recyclables in CLEAR bags or properly labeled recycling bins. The use of the previously required blue bags for designated metal, glass and plastic items should be discontinued. Consequently, suppliers to New York City retailers should discontinue stocking blue recycling bags.

To summarize: As of November 1 it’s: NO to HANDBILLS or advertisements on vehicles, and YES to CLEAR recycling bags or labeled recycling bins.

For all the latest news on recycling or any other Sanitation-related issue, you can call 311, or visit Sanitation’s informative website at: www.nyc.gov/ sanitation.

I take this opportunity to wish you and your family a happy Thanksgiving!

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