Waste Politics Makes Strange Bedfellows

Waste Politics Makes Strange Bedfellows

Earlier this year, nearly 100 union representatives, solid waste company leaders, business groups, and others rallied on the steps of City Hall in New York City in opposition to proposed legislation attacking transfer stations. Several weeks later, this same coalition testified at a marathon, five-hour City Council hearing, and several City Council members, perhaps emboldened by the broad-based opposition to the bill, expressed their concerns.

None of this happened by accident. Last year, the National Waste & Recycling Association’s (NWRA) New York City chapter recognized it needed to get other groups to support its position, and reached out to several labor unions and the business community. Working closely with these coalition partners, and in particular, Laborers Local Union 108, the coalition relentlessly lobbied City officials, held the rally, and developed testimony for the hearing.

Although the transfer station bill is not moving forward, other legislation and proposals that threaten the waste industry in New York City continue to be discussed. For example, the Teamsters and environmentalists are urging City officials to impose exclusive franchises on commercial waste collection in New York City. In addition to eliminating hundreds of good paying jobs (and dozens of carting companies), franchising would likely mean higher costs to customers due to the loss of competition. City officials are expected to announce they will launch a study of franchising on Earth Day as part of the revision to the City’s sustainability agenda (PlaNYC). NWRA will continue to be the forceful advocate for the private sector waste industry in New York City, and will continue working with its coalition partners to protect the industry’s interests.

For more information about NWRA’s New York City’s chapter activities, contact David Biderman at 202-364-3743 or [email protected]

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