What is Transform Don’t Trash NYC?

All New Yorkers want to live and work in safe, healthy communities. New York City has taken steps in recent years to build the cleaner, more sustainable city we all want. Unfortunately, commercial waste continues to cause problems for local communities and workers, as well as the local environment, economy, and the city’s long-term sustainability. This two-page document provides an overview of the Transform Don't Trash NYC campaign, detailing the problem, the solution and ways you can get involved.

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Community Member Stories: Stephan Smith

Stephan Smith is a life-long resident of Hunts Point in the South Bronx and has witnessed how waste transfer stations have decimated his community. The stations can be seen, often covered in a grey haze of toxins, smoke and particulate matter. In talking to his neighbors, Stephan realized: “Most people don’t even know what a waste transfer facility is. They are simply living here and receiving poor air quality and don’t even know why.”

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Worker Stories: Plinio Cruz

Plinio Cruz is a sanitation worker who has been in the commercial waste industry for the last 10 years. He works long nights in midtown Manhattan picking up waste from the city’s restaurants, offices and other businesses. As a Bronx native and hardworking Teamster, Plinio is proud to be able to provide for his family and help keep New York clean, but he worries about a lot of the other non-union drivers he sees out on the road at night.

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Worker Stories: Allan Henry

Allan Henry has been a commercial sanitation worker for the last 28 years, and he can feel it. “My body is shot. My left wrist is bad, my knees are bad, my ankles are bad. Every day, everything hurts, it's just normal,” says Allan. Sanitation regularly ranks as one of the nation’s most dangerous jobs. Any garbage bag could contain razor sharp objects or hazardous chemicals.

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Community Member Stories: Kellie Terry, THE POINT Community Development Corporation

Kellie Terry is the executive director of the Point Development Community Development Corporation located in the Hunts Point section of the South Bronx. Growing up in the area, Kellie witnessed firsthand how commercial waste has impacted her community, which inspired her to move back after college. Over 14,000 families, mostly low-income and communities of color, live next to 15 different waste transfer stations and are subjected every day to 15,000 trucks hauling toxic-smelling waste.

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Small Business Stories: Kari Brown, Lark Café

Kari Brown is the owner of Lark Café, located in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn. She lives very close to the cafe and is proud that her business has become a community gathering spot, hosting sing-alongs and story times for families in the neighborhood.

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Small Business Stories: Naama Tamir, Lighthouse Restaurant

Naama Tamir owns the Lighthouse Restaurant in South Williamsburg, Brooklyn with her brother. They opened the restaurant four years ago to serve as a beacon—to bring people together for healthy, delicious food in a community atmosphere. One of the things that Naama most appreciates about living and working in Brooklyn is the sense of community, and she runs her business with eye towards giving back to the community.

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Tweets from the Streets