NYC Pays $1.6 Million To McKinsey For Trash Can Study, Prompting Widespread Mockery

In 2022, the NYC Department commissioned McKinsey for a $4 million contract to tackle the city’s waste issue.

In 2022, New York City enlisted consultancy giant McKinsey with a $4 million contract to address the city’s mounting trash problem. The results are now in: trash is better off inside bins.

The $1.6 million study over two years concluded that trash bags should be placed in bins rather than left on sidewalks, leading to widespread ridicule on social media, with many finding the outcome obvious and the expenditure excessive.

The Backstory

In 2022, the New York City Department of Sanitation and Economic Development Corporation commissioned McKinsey for a $4 million contract to tackle the city’s waste issue. Mayor Eric Adams framed the study as part of his “Trash Revolution,” aiming to reduce the city’s rat population. Sanitation Commissioner Jessica Tisch, who initiated the study, stood alongside Mayor Adams on Monday to unveil new wheeled bins to collect trash. Starting November 2024, all small buildings in NYC will be required to use these bins.

The McKinsey Study

McKinsey’s 20-week analysis of global waste collection methods culminated in a 95-slide presentation, recommending that trash bags be placed in bins rather than on the street. The study emphasized “containerization,” defined as “the storage of waste in sealed, rodent-proof receptacles rather than in plastic bags.” This method aims to mechanize waste collection, reduce garbage visibility in public spaces, and lower vermin presence.

Despite the contract’s maximum value of $4 million, McKinsey was paid $1.6 million for their findings, according to The Guardian.

The Jokes

Social media quickly erupted with jokes and memes, questioning the necessity of paying millions for what seemed like common sense.

“Hiring McKinsey seems a little unnecessary at best. The city should be developing this kind of expertise in-house, at city agencies,” Councilwoman Sandy Nurse told Gothamist, echoing the sentiment of many New Yorkers puzzled by the expenditure.

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