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Comrie uses funds to buy trash cans for SE Queens

"We want to try to make the community cleaner," Comrie said. "We have to prevent the litter and household garbage from being dropped in the streets."

Comrie used $70,000 of his discretionary funds for capital projects to purchase the bins after receiving complaints that the old smaller baskets were constantly overflowing, spilling garbage onto the ground. He also bought some baskets for the area, including the St. Albans, Addisleigh Park, Hollis, Cambria Heights, Locust Manor, Bricktown, Queens Village, Springfield Gardens and Jamaica communities, last year, Comrie said.

One of the reasons the cans were always full was that people, particularly those living in illegally converted houses, dumped household garbage into the street trash bins, Comrie said. The new baskets have a smaller opening on top to prevent that from happening.

"These cans are supposed to be for litter - bottles of soda or candy wrappers - not household garbage," Comrie said. "This reduces the opportunity for anything but litter to be dropped in."

The bins are serviced by the Department of Sanitation six days a week between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m., and about midnight on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, Doherty said.

"There are so many community people interested in this," he said. "It really makes a big difference."

The bins, which stand about four feet tall, house a metal trash container, but if residents or businesses are willing to take responsibility for the basket, the city can replace the metal can with a plastic liner that can hold more litter, Doherty said.

"We will give you the green liners if someone is willing to come out, tie the bag and leave it next to it," he said. "You have the ability to store more trash in a neat manner that way."

Comrie is hoping to start an adopt-a-basket program to assign the bins to specific people or businesses. Thomasina's Catering Hall and Frank Williams Sr., who owns the property on the Linden Boulevard block between Francis Lewis Boulevard and 205th Street, have already signed on to maintain the baskets there, he said.

Doherty urged the community and civic leaders who came out for last Thursday's announcement to remind people not to drop garbage on the sidewalk.

"If people were more cognizant of what they were doing every day and hold on to that pice of paper until they get to the corner, the streets would be cleaner. These baskets are going to help."

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