- Two former top officials for the City of New York Department of Sanitation (DSNY), Brendan Sexton and Ron Gonen, announced last week their support for a citywide zoning system that would transform how private waste haulers operate through NYC.
- Gonen said in a statement that the zoning would be a "win-win for neighborhood businesses and residents as well as commuters ... because it significantly reduces traffic, noise, and pollution while providing businesses with more transparent pricing and competition around waste and recycling collection." Sexton echoed these beliefs, writing that this solution is viable according to "common sense and the experience of other cities."
- Politico reported that DSNY is conducting a study to better evaluate a commercial zoning plan, and the results of the study are expected to be released this spring.
The discussion of a zoning system (or "franchising") in NYC has been a point of contention for a few years, with no compromise in sight.
Currently, NYC allows multiple private haulers to have contracts in the same areas of the city, causing dozens of trucks to drive down the same route to pick up trash each night. Critics of the current system have called on DSNY to make a change — a situation Waste Dive has been following since 2013.
Supporters of franchising — like Sexton, Genon, and Transform Don't Trash NYC — say it will create a more efficient private hauling system and will help the city reach greater diversion rates. However opponents — like the NYC Chapter of the National Waste and Recycling Association — say that franchising will raise prices, put small haulers out of business, and eliminate free market competition.
"We are currently dealing with too many unknowns," said Ara Chekmayan, a spokesman for private carter coalition New Yorkers for Responsible Waste Management, to Politico. "However, we can say with certainty that private sanitation creates many quality jobs within NYC under a competitive regulated efficient system."
Waste Dive will continue to follow and report on this story as more develops.