Little Room for Staff Cuts in Trash Pickup

A central element of the city's new contract with its sanitation workers is the planned use of one-person crews on some of its trucks. But only a small part of the city's sanitation fleet will be affected -- roughly 50 trucks out of more than 2,300 -- and sanitation experts agree that this minor change underscores the challenge facing those who want to save money collecting garbage in the future. Put simply, there is limited room for further staffing cuts: collecting garbage in New York has always been dirty and noisy, but because of the city's layout and population density, it is also more labor-intensive than in many other cities. Cost-saving technological innovations that might work in more wide-open, suburban settings simply will not work here.

By IAN URBINA

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