Residents of New York City have been left red-faced after realising that what they thought was a cutting-edge service has been in use elsewhere for decades
In what city officials described as a “historic win in the war on trash,” a new rubbish collection system – featuring trucks that pick up garbage bins robotically – is being rolled out across the city.
It’s a huge leap forward for the global city where, in some areas, rubbish was still being collected manually from black garbage bags piled on the footpath.
Other parts of New York had made the leap to wheelie bins, but these were still emptied into trucks manually up until just days ago.
The new era was ushered in by New York mayor Eric Adams, who unveiled the system at a press conference on Thursday with the song Empire State of Mind playing in the background.
Mr Adams arrived at the event driving one of the new garbage trucks – with “the future of trash is here” plastered on the side – and proclaimed their introduction would set New York on its way to becoming the “cleanest major city in the United States”.
“The new garbage truck we’re unveiling today — four years ahead of schedule — represents the future of New York City garbage collection,” Mr Adams said.
“It means we’ll be able to containerise trash from our large residential buildings, something people didn’t believe would be possible in our dense city.”
But New Yorkers were quickly brought back down to earth by the rest of the world, with users on X informing them that automatic garbage trucks have been used for decades in other parts of the world – and the US.
“New York is making a deal out of something that’s utterly mundane in places like Akron, Ohio and Boise, Idaho,” one X user tweeted. “I don’t even live in a city and we have these!”
“The 1990s called and wants its technology back,” another user tweeted.
“Wait a minute. You clowns are still picking up garbage by hand? Amazing,” a third X user wrote.
Mr Adams, who is known for his dislike of trash and rats, has also appointed a “rat tsar” to lead a war on rats in the city.
From March 1, businesses across New York will have to dispose of their rubbish in large, rodent-proof bins dotted along the city’s footpaths.
Later this year, low-density residential buildings that have between one to nine units will be required to do the same.