Schenectady sets vote on proposal to acquire 40 ad-supported garbage cans

Inset: Provided image of proposed garbage cans. Background: Gazette photo of Schenectady City Hall.

Inset: Provided image of proposed garbage cans. Background: Gazette photo of Schenectady City Hall.

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SCHENECTADY — The Schenectady City Council is readying a vote on a proposal to add 40 cost-free garbage bins to city streets in partnership with an outside advertising company.

The initiative would see the Creative Outdoor company supply the city with a fleet of new garbage and recycling cans that feature full-color advertising panels, with the firm and city to split revenues from the ads.

During the council’s City Development and Planning Committee meeting last Monday evening, the council sent the matter to the full council for a vote.

A resolution to authorize Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy to enter into negotiations with Creative Outdoor is set to appear on the agenda for the city council’s meeting on Monday.

During the committee’s prior meeting on Feb. 6, McCarthy urged the council to approve the proposal, which was subsequently tabled when multiple council members, including Council President Marion Porterfield, raised concerns about potential union objections to adding an additional 40 garbage bins to the city’s waste routes.

Schenectady Corporation Counsel Andrew Koldin told the council during Monday’s meeting that McCarthy had met with union leaders from the city’s waste department.

“They didn’t raise any significant concerns related to the pickup of garbage,” Kolidin said. “They recognized that they already pick up garbage from city trash cans at certain corners and they realize that’s within the scope of their work.”

The city will be responsible for picking up trash from the new cans, as the outside vendor is not involved in collecting waste from the units.

Porterfield said on Tuesday that concerns about union issues with collecting waste from the new cans had been allayed after union representatives met with McCarthy.

“I don’t know if it’s going to be the magic bullet that it’s laid out to be,” she said of the initiative. “Really the goal of these cans is to have advertisements, so therefore there’s going to be cans in specific areas. It’s to get garbage but it’s also for businesses to advertise and businesses want their advertisements in areas where people can see them. So that’s high-traffic, high-visibility areas. I just want to make sure that we don’t overlook the fact that we’re still going to need cans in areas that don’t meet that criteria.”

The mayor and council will have input on the placement of the new cans throughout the city.

“It’s areas that we’ve identified where there’s a lot of litter,” Councilwoman Carmel Patrick said of the potential placement of the cans. “I think that these are probably mostly going to end up in corridors with business activity like State Street and Broadway and Van Vranken because of the advertising component.”

In an email to council members and city department heads last week, McCarthy urged the council to move forward with the initiative.

“The current trash cans treat all waste as Municipal Solid Waste,” McCarthy wrote. “There is no option with the current cans to promote recycling and/or sustainability let alone meet state requirements in those areas. The proposed new cans and signage will allow the City of Schenectady to help educate people in better practices of compliant waste management and long-term sustainability. I again ask the city council to move forward with this proposal.”

City Councilman John Polimeni last week said he believed McCarthy’s message was influential in getting the resolution passed out of committee.

“The mayor is a leader and he knows the laws and rules better than most anybody on the council,” Polimeni said. “His leadership I think helped push this through.”

The city is expected to receive approximately $10,000 to $15,000 in revenue per year from ad sales from the garbage cans.

Polimeni, who brought the proposal to the council, on Tuesday said he was pleased that the matter will receive a full council vote.

“There was no reason for a delay,” Polimeni said. “Many of the issues that were brought up were never brought up when other garbage cans were put up throughout the city. It’s high time that we move on and put these garbage cans out along with recycling bins throughout the city.”

City Councilman Damonni Farley during the committee meeting said the new cans should be added to the city’s fleet of receptacles and not used to replace existing units.

“It sounds like a really good program,” he said. “There’s been a lot of efforts from our city government as well as our residents to reduce litter, so I think this is a great way to do that.”

Categories: News, News, Schenectady, Schenectady County

One Comment


Thats certainly not a garbage can, it’s a very large billboard. Don’t we get hammered enough with tv and radio ads? At least I can change the station with those. Now I guess I’ll have to wear blinders when I’m driving in Schenectady. They are another form of litter the “cans” are supposed to eradicate and just as annoying. Why not first try a small pilot with 5 or 10 and see what kind of feedback you will get before entering into a 40 billboard contact. I hope the mayor at least proposes a sunset clause with this agreement.

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