NEW YORK — The garbage is getting bigger, bigger, and bigger.
And as the city prepares to celebrate its centennial, residents of New York City are taking matters into their own hands.
The city is spending millions of dollars on recycling, but as more and more trash piles up in city streets and parks, residents are increasingly using metal-cutting and other techniques to clean up the mess.
“It’s just an amazing opportunity to clean your home and you don’t have to do it all yourself,” said Tanya Schulz, an East Harlem resident.
Residents are turning to these metal-cutters and other recycling methods to remove garbage and other junk.
Some say they can also use the money to pay for a more-efficient trash pickup system.
Others say recycling is too expensive and that more people need to help.
“If I get a lot of plastic, it’s going to be hard to take care of and that’s why we have to make the most of what we have,” said Shuli Ollin, a retired New York city police officer.
People like Ollen are frustrated that recycling rates are skyrocketing in cities like New York and Los Angeles.
“When the garbage comes out and it’s in the garbage cans, it can be a little bit of a mess.
But if you put your trash out on the street, it doesn’t have the same amount of energy and the same smell,” Ollina said.”
So I can’t just throw it in the bin and just throw my garbage in the trash, it has to go somewhere,” she said.
Residents in New York say recycling has gotten a lot better in the past five years.
“We don’t just collect it all in one day,” said Elizabeth Deutsch, who works in New Jersey and also lives in East Harlem.
“It’s a little more complex.
So I would say that recycling is now better than ever.”
For some residents, the recycling effort is a form of social justice.
For some of the city’s homeless, it is a chance to take back some of their belongings.
“The garbage is a part of the fabric of our neighborhoods, it makes our lives better, and that means something to us,” said Eric Drexler, who lives on the Upper West Side.
“I want to get out of the home and not have to worry about having to take the garbage out,” he said.
For those who can’t afford it, a recycling truck can be used to pick up trash.
And a local business is offering free recycling bins to residents.
“These are the kinds of things that you can do on your own,” said Kristin Ollar, owner of an ice cream shop.
The program is called the New York Community Kitchen Program and it offers free garbage bags and bins.
The bins are available at any location in New.
City officials say the program is part of a broader effort to make New York more environmentally friendly.