We Did It! Passing Commercial Waste Reform In New York City…

October 31, 2019

Environmental Justice, News, Transform Don't Trash NYC

We’re thrilled to share a keystone victory that will stop the commercial garbage industry from trashing our communities, workers, streets and environment.

The Commercial Waste Zone law passed yesterday will end New York City’s unchecked “Wild West” waste scheme, with trucks from perhaps 90 companies zooming and zigzagging through our streets. They have mowed down, maimed and killed pedestrians, bicyclists, and even their own workers. They spew dangerous, asthma-triggering particulates and tons of greenhouse gases.

Built to handle big problems, NYLPI’s Environmental Justice Program of advocates, lawyers and organizers banded together strategically with a diverse swath of safe streets groups, labor unions, neighborhood environmental groups, and community members. We formed the “Transform Don’t Trash” coalition to entirely rework New York City’s commercial trash system.

NYLPI invested deeply, generating incisive reports showing that commercial waste zones could lead to good, green jobs and slash greenhouse emissions. We met repeatedly with legislators like lead sponsor Antonio Reynoso — and ultimately a hefty majority of his fellow New York City Council Members, including Speaker Corey Johnson. They were willing to listen, and ultimately to lead. Smart, hard-driven compromises won over key commercial groups.

The result? As the New York Times noted on the eve of passage, under our new law daily private garbage truck traffic will be cut by more than half, “from more than 28 million miles per year to fewer than 11 million by 2024.” Vetted carters can compete for three spots in each of twenty commercial waste zones throughout the city. And we have won new rules for safety, labor fairness and customer service.

Our coalition partners and legislators have our thanks – and so do our supporters.

The measure received significant press coverage in a multitude of news outlets:

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