It’s just the latest in a long history of ad campaigns to get residents to stop littering.
The early appeals focused on the health consequences of garbage, as this ad sponsored by the Fifth Avenue Association (a commercial group organized to keep factories off Fifth Avenue) makes clear.
Cleanliness for cleanliness’ sake seems to be the message in this 1936 campaign, sponsored by the Department of Sanitation.
Did the Sanitation heads really enlist kids to be “junior inspectors” and spread the word about proper trash disposal?
Littering on the subway and inside stations was called out too. I’m not sure when this ad came out, but it was produced by the IRT, which went out of business in 1940.
A giant waste basket in the middle Times Square shaming New Yorkers for their poor littering habits seems like a pretty effective tactic. This photo was taken in 1955.
Did the campaign work? Probably not—as anyone who remembers a trash-filled, littered New York in the 1970s can attest.
At least we’ve come a long way from throwing food and other waste in the street, expecting feral pigs to come along and clean it up for us, as New Yorkers actually did well into the 19th century!
[Photos: NYC Municipal Archives; top photo: Shutterstock]