Designation of Commercial Waste Zones

Adopted Rules: Closed to Comments

Effective Date: 
Sunday, March 15, 2020
Agency:
Download Copy of Adopted Rule (.pdf): 

Statement of Basis and Purpose of Final Rule

Each year in New York City, more than 100,000 commercial establishments generate more than 3 million tons of refuse and recyclables. Approximately 90 private carters collect this waste from commercial establishments across the City.

The current system for collecting commercial waste from the City’s businesses has been plagued by dangerous driving and insufficient attention to public safety, harmful environmental impacts, and poor customer service. Since 2010, private waste collection trucks have killed at least 28 people on New York City streets.

In some parts of the city, more than 50 carters service a single neighborhood, and an individual commercial block may see dozens of different private waste collection trucks on a given night. This has resulted in millions of excess truck miles driven every year that harm the City’s air quality, increase greenhouse gas emissions, create noise pollution and negatively impact public health. Additionally, the industry has lacked strong customer service standards, and pricing has remained unclear and confusing to most customers, putting small businesses at a significant disadvantage.

In response to these documented problems in the commercial waste collection industry, the Department released a comprehensive plan for reforming the private carting industry in November 2018 (“the Plan”), available at http://www.nyc.gov/commercialwaste. The Plan proposed the establishment of commercial waste zones - a safe and efficient collection system to provide high quality, low cost service to New York City businesses while advancing the City’s zero waste and sustainability goals. The Department developed this plan after years of extensive public outreach and engagement with a wide variety of stakeholders. On November 20, 2019, Local Law number 199 for the year 2019 was enacted, which authorizes the Department to create a commercial waste zones system.

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Under Local Law 199, codified in Title 16-B of the New York City Administrative Code, the Sanitation Commissioner must divide the geographic area of New York City into at least 20 “commercial waste zones.” This rule describes the 20 zones designated by the Commissioner and provides a map.

The zone map described here largely reflects the zone map described in the Plan, with a few differences. While the Plan assumed that certain zones in Manhattan would have up to five carters operating, Local Law number 199 authorizes up to three carters per zone. Accordingly, the Department made some adjustments to reflect this change, taking into consideration the number of customers and the average tonnage of waste per contract and per zone. First, this map divides lower Manhattan into two zones. It also consolidates three Brooklyn zones described in the Plan into two zones. Finally, this map includes geographic areas of the City that are not assigned to community districts, such as Central Park, which were not included in the map described in the Plan.

The following is a map of the zones described in this rule. In this map, the numbers refer to either community districts or “Joint Interest Areas,” or “JIAs” which denote geographic areas of the City identified by the Department of City Planning that are not assigned to community districts, as described on the Department of City Planning webpage: https://www1.nyc.gov/site/planning/community/jias-sources.page. The colors denote the different commercial waste zones, which are labeled with the zone names.

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This is the first of several rules that the Department intends to propose to implement the program. Thereafter, the Department will use a competitive procurement process to select up to three private carters to service businesses within each commercial waste zone. The competitive solicitation process will also be used to select up to five carters to provide containerized commercial waste collection services citywide. This process will identify the carters that can provide high quality service at low prices. The resulting contracts will include standards for pricing, customer service, safety, environmental health, and requirements to promote the City’s commitment to recycling and sustainability.

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Commercial waste zones will apply to the collection of commercial refuse, recyclables, and source-separated organic waste. It will exclude specialized or intermittent waste streams, such as construction and demolition debris, medical waste, hazardous waste and other types of waste that will continue to be collected and managed under existing City and State regulations.

Under the new commercial waste zones system, instead of dozens of different carters operating in a City neighborhood on a given night, only a few carters will operate in each area. With fewer trucks on the streets and shorter routes, zoned collection will also mean improved traffic and air quality and less unsafe driving behavior and worker fatigue. Citywide, the adoption of the commercial waste zones system will dramatically reduce truck traffic associated with this industry by 50 percent. This system will improve the quality of life of all New Yorkers, serve the needs of the City’s local businesses, and support the City’s short and long-term goals for a cleaner, safer, and more sustainable city.

DSNY’s authority to promulgate these rules is found in New York City Charter §§ 753 and 1043, and Administrative Code § 16-1001.