Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

 

waste management

waste management

  • 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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  • 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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  • city council press

    Council Member Reynoso (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    It is heartening that the New York City Council recently voted unanimously to declare a state of climate crisis. 2019 has already brought a string of droughts, record-breaking heat waves, crop failures, and storms, and it is obvious that this is the challenge of our lifetimes.

    Having declared an emergency, now comes the time for swift additional action.

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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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  • reynoso ready nyc

    Council Member Reynoso, middle (photo: @JoeEspoNYC)


    “Trash — it’s not sexy,” said City Council Member Antonio Reynoso. “It’s the hardest thing to get people to care about and it’s also something that’s out of sight and out of mind because it gets picked up -- for the most part, the Department of Sanitation does a great job.”

    But there’s a lot about trash -- waste management, really -- to discuss, and Reynoso is at the forefront of the conversations as chair of the City Council’s sanitation committee, a position he has held for more than four years,

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  •  carting

    (photo: @laborers108)


    A quiet announcement recently by the Business Integrity Commission - the watchdog agency that regulates the city’s food and fish wholesale markets, commercial waste services, and shipboard gambling - is unlikely to be etched in the history books or remembered for decades to come.

    But it marked a significant turning point in an unnecessarily contentious dialogue between city officials and the companies that daily manage 12,000 tons of waste, recyclables, and organics generated by the city’s businesses and institutions – as well as labor

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