Commercial Waste Zones Arrive!

Council Member Antonio Reynoso addressed a rally for his Waste Zones Bill (Int 1574) before its NYC Council vote

Prior to entering City Hall for the NYC Council’s vote on Waste Zones Bill (Int 1574), Council Member Antonio Reynoso spoke at a rally of the bill’s supporters, “The passage of Intro 1574 will authorize the City to enact a commercial waste zone system to finally transform this industry for the sake of workers, communities, and our environment. Under a zoned system, routes will be made drastically more efficient — this means improved pedestrian safety and a reduction of vehicle miles traveled of at least 50%. Furthermore, in order to operate in one of these zones, companies will be required to comply with stringent labor, safety, and environmental standards. I have fought tirelessly alongside my allies in transforming the waste industry, and I thank Speaker Johnson and my Council colleagues for making possible its passage.”

Participating at the rally were private sanitation workers, Teamsters Local 813, Teamsters Joint Council 16, Transform Don’t Trash NYC Coalition, New York City Environmental Justice Alliance, ALIGN, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, National Resources Defense Council, Transportation Alternatives, Families for Safe Streets, 32BJ, and OUTRAGE.

Council Speaker Corey Johnson offered Council Member Antonio Reynoso his Speaker time because “He has worked diligently, thoughtfully, unbelievably hard. I’m so proud of the work he’s done on this bill,” said Johnson.

Reynoso took part of this time to mention this legislation took six years of constant effort to get to this vote. That his inspiration to bring forth this bill had roots in his first-person history growing up and living in his district, noting the asthma cases receiving care at Woodhull Hospital is 3X that of the City. That though his goal was to make a positive change in his district, “I also wanted to be a Sanitation Chair that would do right by the whole city.” He recalled the Martin Luther King Jr. speech made on the night before his assassination was addressed to striking sanitation workers in Memphis. Reynoso quoted from the speech, “I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land.”  At the end of his Speaker’s time, Reynoso said, “I’m proud to deliver on a piece of Dr. King’s dream.”

Council Member Robert Cornegy explained his opposition to the passage of Int 1574 as he interpreted this bill as anti-business, and to his view would cause monopolies and eliminate some of the sanitation industry’s entry level jobs.

Council Member Stephen Levin was one of several council members who spoke in favor of Int. 1574. “The private carting system has been overdue for reform for a long time, and I proudly applaud my colleague, Council member Antonio Reynoso and advocates, for the passage of today’s long-awaited bill,” he stated. He referenced occurrences of sanitation trucks speeding, backing up along streets, running red lights, and that they put New Yorkers at risk every single day. He supported his claim of this danger with how the number of people killed by private hauling trucks is markedly larger than the alternative.

“We are making private sanitation a good job again,” said Sean T. Campbell, President of Teamsters Local 813. “Commercial waste zones will overhaul private sanitation to reward the good companies and force the bad companies to shape up.”

Ray Kairys, OUTRAGE Chair said, “For over twenty years, OUTRAGE has been one of the organizations on the front lines of demanding change and accountability from the private carting industry. The Commercial Waste Zones Bill is necessary to reform an industry that operates uncontrolled and utilizes dangerous practices that put the public at risk.”

This local law will take effect immediately.

Author: Lori Ann Doyon

Managing editor, head writer, and lead photographer of Greenline | North Brooklyn News since October 2014. Resident of Williamsburg, Brooklyn since 1990.

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