The survey of 400 small business owners found that 61% don’t have a written contract — which leaves them vulnerable to sudden price hikes and with no penalty if the trash companies miss pickups.
Ninety percent pay a flat rate instead of getting a break if they produce less trash — a practice that sometimes breaks city rules requiring haulers to base rates on a survey of how much garbage a business puts out. Only 14% of businesses said they got a waste survey.
The report, set to be released Thursday, was produced by the group Transform Don’t Trash NYC, which is pushing to overhaul the commercial sanitation system by creating zones with private haulers competing for the exclusive right to collect waste in designated areas.
“New York City’s commercial waste sector is failing small businesses,” said Justin Wood of New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, an author of the report.
“Unlike their larger counterparts with greater purchasing power, small businesses in New York City have little to no control over the prices they’re charged and the services they’re offered. This is bad for business and bad for a city that unnecessarily sends millions of tons of waste to landfills every year,” he said.
The vast majority of businesses — 95% — got no discount for separating recyclables, unlike larger institutions that can share in the proceeds from selling recyclable materials.
Many reported that their haulers told them not to separate recyclables, or that they did separate but saw paper and glass thrown into the same piles with regular trash.
Only 26% separated their glass, compared to 39% for plastic and 38% for paper.
Only cardboard, which hauling companies can get big bucks for selling, was separated by 91% of businesses.