- New York's Department of Sanitation (DSNY) has issued a request for proposals from consultants to assist in the establishment and implementation of a commercial waste zone system. The contract would run for six years — with two opportunities for two-year extensions — and would not exceed $8 million.
- The consultant would be expected to work with DSNY on stakeholder and public engagement; environmental reviews and necessary regulatory processes; the legislative process and potential legal challenges; soliciting and evaluating bids from private carters and other related tasks.
- A pre-proposal conference will be held on Dec. 20. Bids are due by Jan. 18, 2017 and the contract is expected to start on June 1, 2017.
Since DSNY and the Business Integrity Commission released a study in August which examined the potential benefits of a zoned collection system, the issue has been relatively quiet. The city hosted an initial stakeholder meeting in September and advocacy groups recently released reports about air quality issues and alleged violations near private transfer stations. DSNY told Waste Dive that another stakeholder meeting is possible before the consultant's start date.
The debate around the merits of zoning, along with the city's response to it, has been prolonged and potential implementation is expected to take much longer. The RFP reaffirms DSNY's stance that there should be a competitive bidding process for some type of geographically zoned system which requires the collection of recyclables and organics, but the rest is up for discussion. Working out the number of zones, whether they'll be exclusive, who will get them, how safety requirements will be enforced and many more questions will be complex.
Some private carting companies may have different opinions, others may go out of business and new ones could enter the market. What this could mean for New York's private waste industry is truly unknown as the closest example of a franchise zoning system on this scale is one in Los Angeles that hasn't actually started yet. In that case consultants were also hired to work closely with city officials on a detailed plan which will likely be approved by the Los Angeles City Council on Dec. 9.