Agreement Reached on Commercial Waste Zones in NYC

Earlier this month, advocates, the NYC Department of Sanitation (DSNY), and the City Council came to an agreement on a commercial waste zone (CWZ) plan that would divide the city into at least 20 geographic zones with no more than three commercial waste carters assigned to each. 

Currently, commercial waste in New York City is operating under a hauling system from the 1950s.

While most residential trash is picked up by municipal sanitation workers, businesses across the city can contract with any of the nearly 80 commercial waste companies to collect their refuse and recycling. As a result, there is a significant overlap in carter activity citywide and some blocks see as many as 400 garbage trucks every day. This leads to circuitous pick-up routes, risks to pedestrians and cyclists, increased air pollution and congestion. 

Intro. 1574-A by Council Member Antonio Reynoso, would change this paradigm by creating commercial waste zones.

The bill is the culmination of years of input by environmental groups, labor, industry, the City Council, and DSNY. The idea of commercial waste zones in NYC was introduced in 2013 when advocates began campaigning to reform waste management and the policy has  been under negotiation ever since. 

Under Intro. 1574-A, carters would submit proposals as part of a formal bidding process to provide waste collection services to businesses in specific zones. Carters would have to follow strict and much needed environmental, safety, and labor standards in order to be selected.

Implementing CWZ would reduce emissions from garbage collection by as much as two-thirds, decrease traffic congestion and reduce miles traveled by commercial garbage trucks by 50%, making our streets safer and more pedestrian-friendly.

Beyond the emissions benefits, this reform would incentivize waste reduction, cleaner fleets, investments in organics processing, and lead to more green jobs. The bidding process would encourage clean truck fleets by considering any carters’ plans for adopting zero-emission technologies.

Under Intro. 1574-A, we’ll have cleaner air, less pollution, safer streets, and move closer to the city’s zero waste and emission reduction goals.

You can support this legislation by clicking here to send a message to your Council Member. The City Council is expected to vote on the bill this week. 

NYLCV will continue to advocate for policies that reduce waste and improve air quality.