Brooklyn man creates "Snatchelator" to grab plastic bags from city trees

Behold the "Snatchelator", an invention of the Brooklyn resident Taylor Mali.

Two years ago, Mali and his wife saw that a plastic bag had been snared in the tree outside his apartment window. He bought a long painter's pole to remove the bag from the branches. Then he realized he could improve upon the snatching qualities of the pole by attaching several metal L-brackets bent at erratic angles.

Thus was born the fearsome Snatchelator. Soon, Mali was tripping all over town, removing bags from trees in his spare time, and fielding requests from folks around town as word spread of his bag-snatching.

The New York Times wrote a fun profile of him today …

On a warm December morning, Mr. Mali found himself staring up at a defiant deli bag on Warren Street. He had driven over with the Snatchelator lodged between the seats of his Tesla Model X, and the procedure was over in less than a minute: a quick extension of the pole, a jab of the metal braces, a delicate twist like the wrapping of a strand of spaghetti around a fork. A rustle of dead leaves, and victory. A tiny branch came down, too, and Mr. Mali murmured a quick "Sorry" to the tree.

"The greatest and worst thing about plastic," Mr. Mali noted, "is that it won't biodegrade in a thousand years. People think, If I don't do something about it, I'll see that for the rest of my life." [snip]

He estimates that he has "a 99 percent success rate, as long as they're within reach." When asked if he keeps them as trophies, he laughed. "I wear them on my belt to scare away other bags," he said. He has also pulled down sneakers, an errant garden umbrella and a number of Mylar balloons.

BTW, Mali is also a poet — work he does full time, giving traveling workshops — and has a shop of his work online; I quite dug the poem he offers in letterpress format, "My Deepest Condiments"

Photo of poem "My Deepest Condiments" by Taylor Mali

… as well as the "Metaphor Dice" he designed, which look like a gas …