March 7, 2024

The Transform Don’t Trash NYC Coalition applauds Councilmember Sandy Nurse, Sanitation Committee Chair Shawn Abreu, Speaker Adrienne Adams, and Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso for advancing legislation that would require the Department of Sanitation (DSNY) to begin accepting commercial waste at the City’s marine and rail waste transfer facilities.   

The bill, Intro 055 of 2024, would enact a long-delayed environmental justice priority by reducing the number of trucks traveling in and out of communities overburdened by private, truck-based transfer stations. Currently, private sanitation trucks must travel unnecessary miles across boroughs and communities to reach private transfer stations where waste is then exported using large, highly polluting “long-haul” trucks.

The City’s nearly expired 2006 Solid Waste Management Plan (SWMP) directed DSNY to report on efforts to process commercial waste at marine transfer stations and to issue an RFP to process commercial waste at at least one Manhattan marine transfer station, but no further action has been announced to fulfill this long-overdue promise.

The mandate of Intro 55 would precede the new 20-year SWMP due in 2026, and would coincide with the expected citywide implementation of the new Commercial Waste Zones system required by Local Law 199 of 2019. Zones will sharply reduce commercial waste truck mileage citywide and incentivize the use of waste and recycling facilities with high safety and environmental standards, including publicly-owned marine and rail-based transfer stations.


“The current solid waste system is an ongoing environmental injustice, in which 75% of the City’s waste is still trucked in and out of a handful of low-income communities and communities of color. Passage of Intro 055 of 2024 would hasten the long overdue transition of NYC’s waste export system from a polluting truck-based one to a water barge-based system, where one barge can replace the capacity of 48 eighteen wheel tractor trailer ‘long haul’ trucks from further spewing co-pollutants into these overburdened communities,” said Celeste Perez, State Climate Policy Manager at NYC Environmental Justice Alliance

“Every night dangerous private waste trucks needlessly drive across communities and boroughs to dump commercial waste at distant transfer stations.  By allowing large, dangerous commercial waste trucks to use well-designed municipal transfer stations located near commercial districts, Intro 55 would promote Vision Zero and safe streets,” said Justin Wood, Director of Policy at New York Lawyers at the Public Interest. “Minimizing these heavy diesel vehicles is safer for workers, safer for New Yorkers, and better for our health.’

“Using the Sanitation Department’s modern marine waste transfer stations to export commercial trash is a sensible and equitable use of city resources that will improve the quality of life for New Yorkers who live in neighborhoods that have been burdened for decades with poorly operating private waste transfer facilities.  Bravo to Councilmember Nurse, Sanitation Chair Abreu, and Speaker Adams for moving to turn the promise of the city’s 2006 solid waste management plan to reduce polluting overburdened neighborhoods into reality,” said Eric A. Goldstein, NYC Environment Director at the Natural Resources Defense Council

“Commercial waste workers are constantly exposed to unsafe working conditions, navigating highly-trafficked city roadways and breathing polluted air, day in and day out,” said Jenille Scott, Climate Director of ALIGN. “We wholeheartedly support Intro 55, which promotes the use of marine transfer stations — a more environmentally sound practice. By reducing truck miles traveled, we can make our streets safer in overburdened communities, ensure workers have sustainable working conditions, and keep DSNY accountable to the health of our city.”

About Transform Don’t Trash NYC

Transform Don’t Trash NYC coalition is 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. Steering committee organizations include ALIGN, International Brotherhood of Teamsters Joint Council 16, New York City Environmental Justice Alliance, Natural Resource Defense Council and New York Lawyers for the Public Interest.