Plans to divide the city into zones for commercial garbage and recycling pickups continue to wend their way through City Hall for implementation later this year.
As of now, businesses, which are not served by the city’s Department of Sanitation, are free to negotiate with the commercial carter of their choice. The result is that wherever a carter calls home base with its trucks and transfer station, its drivers may have clients spread throughout the five boroughs.
Mayor de Blasio in November 2019 signed into law measures that will divide the city into 20 zones, each of which will be served by up to three carting companies that will be chosen by competitive bids.
One aim is to reduce the number of miles that garbage trucks travel through the city each day and night.
It also is believed that it will shorten drivers’ shifts, an issue that took hold between 2016 and 2019 when more than 20 carting workers and others were killed in accidents involving commercial waste trucks or companies.
Business organizations have opposed implementation, saying it will drive up costs.
The program will be administered by the city’s Business Integrity Commission, which also oversees the city’s wholesale markets.
In an email to the Chronicle, a spokesperson for the Department of Sanitation said the city back in November began soliciting proposals from carting companies about their qualifications to bid on trash zones. Responses are due on Feb. 19.
The DSNY also has proposed a set of rules for customer service, including maximum prices, providing recycling and organic waste collection and other details.
Upon evaluating proposals, the city will enter into negotiations with companies. Each company is limited to a maximum of 15 zone awards. The initial contract runs for 10 years and two five-year renewals possible. Businesses can negotiate with all approved carters in their zone.
The DSNY would investigate consumer complaints involving their carters.
Unions representing commercial sanitation workers say the changes will improve worker pay, training and safety.
With unionized employees can come the possibility of a strike. Back in September 2019 the DSNY told the Chronicle that its personnel would be authorized to collect trash “under any circumstances that might interrupt work by an authorized carter.”
But the DSNY email this week said “All service contingency protocols will be established through the [request for proposals] and contact development process.”
Councilman Daneek Miller (D-St. Albans), who has been a key player in the legislation and negotiations from the start, declined to comment for this story.