What Private Commercial Waste Zones Mean For NYC

New York City’s 200,000+ commercial businesses generate more than 3,000,000 tons of waste each year. While residents’ refuse and recyclables are collected by the Department of Sanitation of New York, businesses depend on more than 90 private waste carters. The New York City Council recently passed the Commerical Waste Zones bill (Intro 1574). This will have significant impact on the NYC commercial garbage rules. Designed to transform NYC’s private commercial waste pickup, the new policy will raise the industry’s transparency, accountability, and quality of service. Though there are contradictory claims about the efficacy of the new bill, here are what commercial waste zones mean for NYC businesses.

More Zones

Every night, a number of private waste carting companies crisscross one another, servicing the city’s thousands of commercial businesses. These companies frequently overlap one another, servicing customers on the same streets.The current system is wildly inefficient. For example, nine different companies will service 11 businesses on a two block stretch of Brooklyn’s 24th Street. Convoluted and long, some routes cover all five boroughs and can take up to 12 hours to complete. The bill seeks to limit these routes to 20-plus zones comprised of three carters per zone. will also limit each company from operating in more than 15 zones. 

Number of Carters

The bill is designed to check the loosely regulated private waste industry within New York City. With an estimated 90 private garbage companies servicing the boroughs of New York, the current system is administered by the Business Integrity Commission. Recently, the BIC ended corruption and the influence of organized crime. Now, it relies on the self-reporting of carters and customer complaints to regulate contracts in a collaborative effort. This creates a strong working relationship between the city and the largest waste management companies servicing NYC. To manage these relationships, the bill will narrow companies’ competing interests to three companies per zone. 

Increased Accountability

Under the new bill the Business Integrity Commission will no longer be responsible for regulation. Instead, the Department of Sanitation of New York will take bids and manage the 20 zones. The winners of the bids will be required to meet the contractual standards of the city. These standards include a cap on prices, and predesignated routes. With multiple carters able to operate in each zone, competition will remain. The city will also create opportunities for multiple carters by allowing subcontracting, and brokers to negotiate contracts. With a fair amount of competition, carting services NYC will offer quality services and fair pricing.

Better For The Environment

The new law is expected to reduce truck traffic by 18 million miles, or 63%. This meets the city’s new heightened response to climate change. Companies who bid will be required to meet the city’s goals and objectives. These objectives include switching to lower emission vehicles and providing organic and recycling collections. Companies will also be required to submit zero waste plans. These plans will be reviewed, and carters with more ambitious plans will gain higher consideration. Of course, this will also attract carting companies that are already working on their eco-friendly garbage removal efforts in NYC and reducing the city’s overall carbon footprint.

Improved Safety

The CWZ bill is also an attempt to reduce public safety risks. Since 2010, 28 New Yorkers have been killed by private carters. The reduction in carters and the length of routes will drastically improve the safety of pedestrians and cyclists throughout the city. Reducing length of travel for carters will also improve the working conditions for drivers and waster-collectors. Instead of working haphazard routes that stretch across the five boroughs, workers will work consolidated routes, reducing their overall time on the road.The Commerical Waste Zones bill will certainly reform the current commercial garbage pickup. Dividing the city into 20 separate zones with three carters per zone will drastically reduce truck traffic, greenhouse gas emissions, and the length travel-time for carters. Although some worry about an increase in price, provisions have been placed within the bill to ensure stable pricing. Bidding has already begun, and the contracts are expected to be awarded in 2021.