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Need to Know

Concerns Abound Over NYC’s Looming Commercial Waste Zone Plan

Smaller and midsized haulers worry commercial zones will deter competition and lead to higher prices and poor service.

Following years of anticipation and debate, a New York City Council bill to reform the city’s private waste collection industry is expected to be introduced this spring.

The commercial waste zone plan will ultimately divide the city into 20 zones, each served by three to five carters selected through a competitive process. This approach, the City of New York Department of Sanitation (DSNY) has maintained, will reduce truck traffic associated with commercial waste collection by more than 60 percent, or more than 18 million miles per year, while strengthening service standards and allowing for customer choice. Additionally, the commercial waste zones will help create a new regulatory framework that allows the city to achieve several additional program goals, DSNY has stated.

According to a Crain’s New York report, the new system would be the “most drastic overhaul of commercial waste collection since Mayor Rudy Guliani broke the Mafia’s grip on sector in the mid-1990s by establishing the Business Integrity Commission.” Smaller and midsized haulers, however, are concerned that commercial zones will stifle competition and lead to higher prices and poor service.

Crain's New York has more details:

Commercial trash hauling in New York is about to enter a whole new era.

After four years of study and debate, a plan to reform the private waste-collection industry, first proposed by Mayor Bill de Blasio and developed by the Department of Sanitation, is now headed toward a decisive step: a City Council bill that would attempt to create a workable system while introducing the most radical changes to the industry in a quarter-century.

To put it another way, a sector vital to the city's economic health, which has operated under free-market principles that sometimes encouraged a Wild West ethos, could become a model of order and efficiency—or collapse.

The legislation, being crafted by Antonio Reynoso, chairman of the sanitation committee, is based on a framework from the Sanitation Department. It is expected to be introduced this spring. In the meantime, the plan—to divide the city into zones served by a group of carters chosen through a competitive bidding process—has become a flash point of controversy for both supporters and detractors.

Read the full article here.

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