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Transform Don’t Trash NYC’s New Animated Video Advocates for Reform of NYC’s Private Sanitation Industry

NEW YORK, NY – Transform Don’t Trash NYC, a coalition of labor, community, and environmental groups pushing to transform how New York City disposes of its commercial trash, released a new animated video to raise awareness about the challenges and dangers of New York City’s commercial waste industry.

Created in collaboration with the Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP), a nonprofit organization that uses the power of design and art to increase meaningful civic engagement, and animator Cole Hannan, the video maps out the path that commercial waste takes from local businesses to waste transfer stations. Additionally, it showcases the impact that the private waste industry has on its workers, residents living near waste transfer stations, and the environment. The video was designed and animated by Cole Hannan in collaboration with the Center for Urban Pedagogy, the Transform Don’t Trash NYC coalition and ALIGN’s Brigid Flaherty and Keith Brooks. ALIGN, which has been involved with the TDT coalition since its launch in 2013, has worked to raise visibility around the hazards of NYC’s commercial waste system to workers and residents.

“Millions of New Yorkers are impacted daily by New York City’s commercial waste industry—and many don’t even know it. This includes low-income communities and communities of color enduring unnecessarily heavy truck traffic and air pollution, private sanitation workers risking their health and safety every time they report to work, and individuals in the path of the 4,000 trucks that crisscross the city each day to collect trash,” said Justin Wood, Environmental Justice Organizer at New York Lawyers for the Public Interest and TDT member. “The video serves to educate a broader audience on the dangers of the commercial waste industry and generate support for reform. We can’t live in a healthier, safer, and more sustainable New York without it.”

“This video sheds light on NYC’s commercial waste system by visualizing its dangerous impacts,” said Ingrid Haftel, Program Manager at CUP. “Animator Cole Hannan’s unique and engaging visual style brings this dirty secret to life. Like all of CUP’s collaborative projects, this video aims to help community members understand complicated a complicated policy issue, so that they can better participate in shaping it.”

The video is part of CUP’s Public Access Design program, which uses design to make complex urban issues accessible to the New Yorkers most affected by them, and the Coalition’s latest project shedding light on the abuses of the private sanitation industry and the need for reform. The Coalition’s report, “Dirty, Wasteful & Unsustainable: The Urgent Need to Reform New York City’s Commercial Waste System,” found a commercial recycling rate of 25 percent—just a fraction of the rate in leading cities like San Francisco and Seattle—and private sanitation workers reporting low pay and unsafe conditions at many private sanitation companies.

The de Blasio administration is currently reviewing the private sanitation industry as part of the OneNYC sustainability plan. This includes studying commercial waste zones, a policy that other major cities have used to create economies of scale among small businesses and improve customer service, recycling rates, and working conditions.

About ALIGN: The Alliance for a Greater New York
ALIGN: The Alliance for a Greater New York’s mission is to create good jobs, vibrant communities, and an accountable democracy for all New Yorkers. For more information, please visit

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

About the Center for Urban Pedagogy
The Center for Urban Pedagogy is a nonprofit organization that uses design and art to improve civic engagement. For more information, please visit