“Sweet Spot,” by Mike Sugerman

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Garbage and recycling in New York City can be confusing.

Unless you know a guy who knows a guy.

That’s my story.

Have you seen the rules for what you can throw in the garbage can and what you throw into recycling?

How about food scraps?

Garbage is what isn’t glass, metal, rigid plastic, beverage containers. That’s recycling. Unless it’s paper or cardboard. That’s in another can.

And you must place recycling bins in clear bags or labeled recycling bins between 4 p.m. and midnight the evening before your scheduled recycling day.

That’s what the rules say.

And if you don’t do everything just right, you can get a $100 ticket.

My son and daughter-in-law have three cans in their condo and plastic bags filled with other stuff nearby. They tell me unless we do it, too, we’ll get a ticket.

I talked the the Director of Sanitation, Kathryn Garcia, about it. She told me it was all true.

How do sanitation workers know what’s in the bags you throw into the bins? Those bags are supposed to be clear but if they’re not, she says, the men and women on the trucks can still tell. They know more about our lives than we may know, she tells me.

So I’m struggling with all this, and the bags that go with it, when a neighbor asks me what I’m doing.

I say I’m trying to avoid a ticket for not getting the recycling right.

He tells me, “Forgettaboutit. I know people in Sanitation. They take care of this block. You don’t have to all that separation (bleep). No one is going to get a ticket on this block. If you do, you come see me!!”

Now I know a guy who knows a guy. So I have that going for me.

I still plan to be a good steward of the earth and do what I can to separate my trash.

I just may not be as careful as I once might have.

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