NYC Department of Sanitation takes additional steps to implement Commercial Waste Zones

NYC Department of Sanitation takes additional steps to implement Commercial Waste Zones

DSNY released the second and final part of the request for proposals for private carting companies interested in participating in the program.

November 23, 2021

Nov. 16 the New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY) announced further progress toward implementing the city’s Commercial Waste Zones program, which it says will create a safe and efficient system to collect waste from NYC businesses. DSNY adds that the program is authorized by Local Law 199, which Mayor de Blasio signed in November 2019, and will provide high-quality, low-cost service to businesses while advancing the city’s zero waste goals.

According to a 2019 environmental review, Commercial Waste Zones will nearly double commercial recycling and organics diversion rates while decreasing truck traffic and associated emissions by 50 percent.

DSNY released the second and final part of the request for proposals (RFP) for private carting companies interested in participating in the program. The RFP is the latest step toward implementation of this program. Through the RFP process, DSNY says it will select up to three carters to provide service to customers within each of 20 zones, as well as up to five carters to provide containerized collection service citywide. This will bring clarity and stability to an industry that impacts nearly every street in the city while keeping the competition necessary for low prices, the DSNY says.

DSNY also published three final rules in the City Record related to safety, customer service and operations and third-party waste audits. These rules, which were subject to public hearing and comment, set minimum requirements for carters operating under the Commercial Waste Zones program.

The RFP, rules and related documents can be downloaded at

“New Yorkers have a right to safe and clean streets, and the implementation of Commercial Waste Zones will help us deliver on that right,” says Edward Grayson, DSNY commissioner. “Commercial Waste Zones mean fewer trucks on our streets, safer and more efficient trash collection and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. The rules and RFP released [Nov. 16] are going to have a positive impact in nearly every neighborhood in the five boroughs.”

“The Commercial Waste Zones program will reduce truck miles traveled in New York City, making the streets safer and the air cleaner for everyone living, working and visiting the city,” adds Noah D. Genel, Commissioner and chair of the Business Integrity Commission (BIC). “Improving traffic safety in the commercial waste-hauling industry is an important goal of BIC’s, as demonstrated by the industrywide safety rules BIC enacted this past August.”

The Department released Part 1 of the Commercial Waste Zones RFP last November. A total of 50 private carters submitted responsive proposals to Part 1, which requested information from potential program awardees about their qualifications to provide commercial waste collections services, including licensing status with the BIC, financial statements and compliance history. These respondents are eligible to respond to Part 2 of the RFP, DSNY says.

Part 2 of the RFP requests additional information about potential program awardees, including plans to achieve the programmatic goals of Commercial Waste Zones, including safety, customer service, sustainable waste management, infrastructure investment and zero waste. Part 2 of the RFP also includes a template agreement that will serve as the basis for final agreements with Commercial Waste Zones haulers. Responses to Part 2 of the RFP are due March 17, 2022.

The Commercial Waste Zones program is the result of more than six years of analysis, stakeholder engagement and planning. DSNY says it plans to follow the RFP process with a multiyear customer transition process that includes outreach and education for businesses.

DSNY, BIC and the city council also jointly announced the members of the Commercial Waste Safety Taskforce, which will advise the agencies on improvements to safety and training practices in the private carting industry to improve the safety of the public and private carting employees:

  • David Biderman, executive director and CEO, Solid Waste Association of North America; 
  • Elena Conte, senior fellow, Pratt Center for Community Development and Adjunct Professor at CUNY School of Professional Studies, Murphy Institute;
  • Susan Eppes, president, EST Solutions, a health and safety consulting firm;
  • Erwin Figueroa, former director of organizing, Transportation Alternatives;
  • Bernadette Kelly, recording secretary, Teamsters Local 210 and Trustee, Teamsters Joint Council 16; and
  • Julia Kite-Laidlaw, director of strategic initiatives, NYC Department of Transportation.

The Taskforce will hold its first meeting in December.