May 30, 2019

The Transform Don’t Trash NYC coalition today called on the City Council to move quickly to pass the Commercial Waste Zone bill, following a report from the New York Post that a private carting company owner was indicted for covering up a murder five months ago. The TDTNYC coalition includes labor, environmental justice, community, small business, and safe streets organizations.

According to news accounts, William Formica, the owner of Flag Container, was indicted for using dumpsters and a waste transfer station to dispose of evidence in the disappearance and murder of Michael Stewart, a Staten Island father. The indictment follows a long history of worker deaths, safety violations, and slow adoption of environmental and street safety programs at Flag Container and at Formica’s construction company. Under New York City law, private carters must have “good character, honesty, and integrity” in order to qualify for and maintain a license to operate, issued by the New York City Business Integrity Commission.

The Transform Don’t Trash NYC coalition released the following statement:

“Flag Container’s behavior, as alleged in the indictment, exemplifies the lawlessness of the private carting industry. The City Council should move quickly to pass the Commercial Waste Zone bill, introduced by Council Member Antonio Reynoso yesterday, so we can get to work cleaning up this industry.

“With a Commercial Waste Zone system, the Department of Sanitation will be able to set and enforce high safety, labor, and environmental standards for private carting companies. Through a competitive bidding process, we can ensure that the only companies operating in New York City are those that meet ‘good character’ standards and that help us reach our climate, Vision Zero, and worker safety goals. We can no longer let dangerous private carters operate for years and wait for the worst to happen before acting. Unfortunately, there are many private carters with safety and environmental records like Flag Container’s.

“Further, the Business Integrity Commission should act immediately to get Flag Container off the streets. There is no excuse for this company still having a license months after the owner’s indictment in this horrific crime.”

In 2014, a Flag Container worker, Robert Meehan, Jr., was killed by a falling dumpster and the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued several violations following an investigation, including for failing to report the death to OSHA. Workers have died in two separate incidents at Formica Construction, also owned by William Formica. His brother, Ken Formica, pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide in one of those workplace deaths.

Demonstrating Flag Container’s poor commitment to safety, the company has installed side guards that reduce the chances of pedestrian or cyclist fatalities on only 2 of 15 heavy-duty garbage trucks despite the availability of BIC subsidies to make this low-cost improvement. Out of Flag’s 15 heavy duty trucks, fully one-third (5) are not compliant with Local Law 145, a minimal environmental standard that requires waste haulers to operate diesel engines that are no older than 2007.  These pre-2007 vehicles are highly polluting.

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. The coalition includes ALIGN, New York City Environmental Justice Alliance, the Teamsters Union, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and dozens of other organizations and small businesses.

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