Press Releases

Comptroller and Public Advocate Back Commercial Waste Reform Policy

Comptroller Scott Stringer and Public Advocate Letitia James announced their support today for the Department of Sanitation’s commercial waste zone policy, which will transform the way commercial waste is collected in New York City. Under the new policy, announced by the de Blasio administration in 2016, zones of the city will be served by specific private sanitation companies, reducing truck traffic and allowing the City to hold companies to strict standards for vehicle emissions, environmental justice, labor practices, and recycling.

“Commercial sanitation has a lot of problems, from environmental injustice to unsafe, low-pay jobs,” said New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer. “A strong, well-planned franchise system will ensure good jobs for workers and a safer environment for all New Yorkers. We need to make the policy a reality, so that our city can have a commercial sanitation system that we can be proud of, from collection to disposal.”

“Many communities across the City shoulder more than their fair share of the trash burden in New York City,” said Public Advocate Letitia James. “With the high rates of pollution associated with diesel pollution, now is the time to act. The City’s commercial waste zone policy is the right path forward for addressing the many problems caused by the private sanitation industry. I will do all I can to ensure the policy is implemented so we can clean our air and protect our communities.”

All three of New York’s city-wide elected officials now support the commercial waste zone policy. The Department of Sanitation is currently engaging stakeholders and procuring a consultant to develop the final waste zone plan.

“With New York City moving forward with this smart and transformational policy, it is important that we have all our elected officials on board,” said Maritza Silva-Farrell, Executive Director of ALIGN, a member of the Transform Don’t Trash NYC coalition. “It is clear that the Public Advocate and Comptroller understand how big the problems are in the commercial sanitation industry. Environmental justice communities and workers need relief and this is the right policy to fix commercial sanitation.”

A 2016 report by the Department of Sanitation found that transitioning commercial waste to a zone-system would reduce garbage truck emissions by 42 percent to 64 percent. This would contribute towards the city’s target to reduce overall carbon emissions by 80% by 2050. The new policy would also allow the City to comprehensively regulate the industry for the first time, requiring high recycling rates, good wages and safety standards for workers, investments in modern trucks and infrastructure, and disposal standards that lift the burden on low-income communities of color. Currently, most trash collected in New York City is carted to the South Bronx, North Brooklyn, and Southeast Queens.

About Transform Don’t Trash NYC

Transform Don’t Trash NYC is a growing coalition dedicated to transforming New York City’s commercial trash industry to reduce waste and pollution, foster clean and healthy communities for all New Yorkers, and create good jobs. For more information, please visit