October 13, 2013

New York City has taken steps toward building a more environmentally sustainable city in recent years, yet the commercial waste industry has been largely overlooked – much to the detriment of New York’s economy, environment, communities and workers.

New York City’s restaurants, offices and businesses generate a staggering 3.2 million tons of solid waste each year, over half of which is buried in landfills or incinerated. Commercial waste is collected by a highly dysfunctional, outsized private system. The overabundance of garbage trucks on the road contributes to some of the worst smog in the country, as well as violations of clean air standards and extreme noise pollution. We are now calling for change.

ALIGN and the Transform Don’t Trash NYC coalition, a broad coalition of labor, environmental justice, and community groups, launched an exciting new campaign to make the city’s trash industry cleaner, more efficient and better for workers and communities. Anchored by ALIGN, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Joint Council 16 & Local 813, New York City Environmental Justice Alliance, and New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, more than 100 coalition members and supporters gathered at City Hall on October 2nd to launch the campaign. A new report was released at the event highlighting issues within the industry and presenting concrete recommendations for creating a more sustainable and just commercial waste industry.

Transform Don’t Trash NYC is calling for a competitive franchise system to reduce waste and pollution, create cleaner and healthier communities for all New Yorkers, lift thousands waste industry workers and their families out of poverty, and create thousands of new, quality jobs in recycling and recycling-reliant industries. Franchise awardees would be required to meet environmental standards that increase recycling rates, reduce truck emissions and distribute waste handling across the city more equitably. They would also be required to meet labor standards improving the safety and quality of jobs.

In return, franchisees would benefit from a more secure, steady base of customers located along well-organized routes. The proposed system stands to ensure accountability through reporting requirements and increased City oversight, and is based upon a model successfully implemented by the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy. Read the new Transform Don’t Trash NYC report.

Tweets from the Streets