Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

 

Department of Sanitation

Department of Sanitation

  • bkrot twitter

    (photo: @BKROT)


    For most New Yorkers, the city’s private sanitation industry is mostly out of sight, out of mind. Yet it impacts us in major ways. The industry’s old trucks chug and idle along inefficient routes, spewing pollution throughout the city each night. Once collected, the trash is dumped in communities of color, namely north Brooklyn and the south Bronx. Carters make huge profits while paying their predominantly black and brown workers horrendous wages.

    Some workers have reported making as little as $80 for a 16-hour shift. Even more disturbing,

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  • single wire litter basket

    (photos: Department of Sanitation)


    In the public conversation surrounding quality of life in New York City, litter baskets -- the mostly green, metal-wire trash cans standing guard on street corners throughout the five boroughs -- have taken on a unique focus. They seem to exist at the nexus between public and private life, providing relief for the refuse-laden pedestrian, and serving as a symbol of the urban order embodied in mundane municipal service delivery.

    Where baskets are placed, how often they are serviced, and how the city enforces the

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  • 30209332638 b998c55e75 z

    Mayor Bill de Blasio (photo:Benjamin Kanter/Mayor's Office)


    As stories of overflowing trash and endless street noise pile up on social media and in the news, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration has repeatedly said it is working on comprehensive approaches to some of the most challenging so-called quality-of-life issues affecting New Yorkers, but has yet to reveal an overarching vision for what the city plans to do.

    Last October, Deputy

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  • assist parade cleanup

    (photo: Michael Anton/Department of Sanitation)


    Environmental advocates and labor unions are dissatisfied with New York City’s system of collecting garbage from commercial establishments. Unlike waste from residences, including apartment buildings, which is collected by the city’s Department of Sanitation, waste from office buildings, retail businesses, and restaurants is collected by for-hire companies that charge their customers fees for the service.

    Environmentalists decry the traffic and pollution caused by multiple different waste

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  • nycha mayor dry

    (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)


    When the New York Times announced that Rats Are Taking Over New York City, the widely-shared article and subsequent discussion overlooked one obvious remedy: reboot New York City’s stalled, neglected Organics Collection Program, and use it to take away a primary food source for rats near residential buildings.

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  • sanitation g3

    (photo: @NYCSanitation)


    Racial segregation is still thought of as a southern issue, but sadly New Yorkers continue to face glaring examples of racial inequity in our own backyards, like the commercial sanitation industry.

    A generation ago, the private carters provided middle-class jobs to a mostly white workforce. But in the years since, the industry has become mostly black and brown, and wages have dropped. A half-century after the passage of the Civil Rights Act and the end of Jim Crow segregation, African-Americans remain at the bottom of the economic

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  • office depart san award promo

    (photo: Spencer T Tucker)


    Each January, we have the opportunity to take a day and celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Every passing commemoration to the life and legacy of Dr. King is a reminder to rededicate ourselves to advancing social and economic justice in New York and across the country. This year, as New York’s commercial waste industry is facing potential overhaul, it is particularly fitting to reflect on Dr. King’s often overlooked work helping sanitation workers in their fight for fair wages and

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  • sanitation truck snow plow

    (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    Recent news that the New York City Department of Sanitation had its trucks evicted from a Chelsea garage on West 30th Street and will now park them on a side street near Manhattan’s Bellevue South Park should raise a question: why does Sanitation need to garage its trucks in the first place? It's not as if sanitation trucks are Lamborghinis requiring careful protection or 1970s era Jaguars

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  • city council cm cornegy

    Council Member Cornegy, the author (photo: Emil Cohen/City Council)


    New Yorkers have good reason to be concerned, even angry, about the state of affairs in our city's commercial waste industry. Stakeholders and commentators are absolutely right to note that, among other issues to address, the tragic loss of life in this industry is unacceptable.

    However, agreement on the importance of cleaning up commercial waste carting does not change the fact that a huge question is still on the table: How can we actually achieve our shared goals as

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  • whats the data point


    What's The [Data] Point? Episode 42 -- 1,988, with Antonio Reynoso [You can download What's The [Data] Point? wherever you get your podcasts, including on iTunes]

    antonio reynoso

    1,988 pounds

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  • MTA bus

    An MTA bus (photo: MTA Bus)


    The new congestion pricing surcharges on taxis and on-demand ride services below 96 Street in Manhattan are designed to address congestion in midtown, but they generate more controversy than impact. They might raise a few hundred million dollars a year for the MTA to fix the subway. But they won’t do anything to reduce congestion or air pollution. Meanwhile another big ticket MTA budget item has gotten little attention but will have a huge impact on New York City's emissions, air quality, and public health: bus procurement.

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  • composting sanitation

    photo via NYC Sanitation


    Today, the New York City Council will hold an oversight hearing on the Department of Sanitation's organic waste program started in 2013. The focus on organic waste is merited by the size of the waste stream (more than 1 million tons annually) and environmental benefits of reducing greenhouse gases through use of alternative disposal strategies, such as composting, rather than transport to distant landfills. The City plans to expand the pilot program citywide; however, ...

  • garcia sanitation

    DSNY Commissioner Garcia (photo: @NYCSanitation)


    New York is safer and more prosperous than it's been in years, but the city still can't figure out how to stop people from trashing streets with litter.

    Despite a focus on quality of life issues, City Hall has made limited progress in dealing with a problem that has plagued mayors since the days when animals roamed Broadway. Even a small army of workers from the Department of Sanitation (DSNY), business improvement districts, and the Doe Fund still can't fully police 6,000 miles of city streets and more than 27,000

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