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Dirty, Wasteful & Unsustainable: The Urgent Need to Reform New York City’s Commercial Waste System

New York City’s sprawling commercial waste system performs significantly worse on recycling and efficiency than previously believed. Under an inefficient and ad-hoc arrangement that developed over the past several decades, hundreds of private hauling companies collect waste from restaurants, stores, offices, and other businesses nightly and truck it to dozens of transfer stations and recycling facilities concentrated in a handful of low-income communities of color. This waste is then transferred to long-haul trucks and hauled to landfills as far away as South Carolina. Previously unpublished studies and new data reveal just how chaotic this system is and make clear that fundamental reform is needed if we are to follow through on the City’s recently adopted commitment to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 80% by 2050.

NYC Council Member Antonio Reynoso sitting at his desk, with the American and NYC City flags to his right.

Transform Don’t Trash NYC: Video

This powerful video features City Council Member and Sanitation Committee Chair Antonio Reynoso, small business owners, private sanitation workers and young people and advocates from environmental justice communities discussing the negative impacts that the city’s outdated waste system has on them, as well as solutions to create good jobs and clean and safe communities for all New Yorkers.

Transform Don’t Trash NYC

ALIGN and the Transform Don’t Trash coalition's released a new report that outlines how the commercial waste industry is highly polluting, inefficient, costly to the City, disproportionately burdensome on low-income communities of color, and dangerous and exploitative for workers.