NYC Sanitation Commissioner Talks About Trash

Commissioner Garcia
Athletes are famously known not only for their athleticism, but also for their trash talk. However, this past Tuesday at the most celebrated athletic club in the United States, the New York Athletic Club (NYAC), there was absolutely no trash talk, but actually more talk about trash.  
At NYAC, Crain New York Business hosted, New York’s Strongest, the New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY) who has the dirtiest job in NYC but helps keep NYC streets clean by removing waste and snow as sanitation workers collect trash and engage in recycling. DSNY also helps keep NYC graffiti free.  
The featured speaker for that day was Kathryn Garcia, Commissioner of DSNY, who oversees roughly 7,200 uniformed sanitation workers, while supervising another 2,041 civilian employees.  In her official capacity, Commissioner Garcia also presides over about 2,360 support vehicles, 2,230 general collection trucks, 450 street sweepers, 365 snowplows, 298 front end loaders, and 275 specialized collection trucks as her Department manages the daily arrangement and clearance of more than 12,000 tons of refuse waste and recyclables according to NYC’s Independent Budget Office.  Therefore, to operate efficiently, DSNY has stationed its staff and other resources to 59 garages throughout NYC – making it the largest sanitation department in the world.   
As the featured speaker, invoking sustainability and climate change, Commissioner Garcia reassured the audience that DSNY’s new compost mandates will not be an impediment to businesses in New York City. Commissioner Garcia also stated: “We need to be moving as aggressively as we can to ensure we have a sustainable city and are a model for other cities, because climate change is happening and we are experiencing it right now.”
Moreover, in alliance with the NYC Council, while invoking environmental suitability, Commissioner Garcia talked about her zone waste policy ultimately establishing a zoned carting system that would sensibly measure environmental needs with that of safety concerns regarding trash disposal for businesses in NYC. 
However, echoing the fears of many in NYC’s business community, Andrew Rigie, the executive director of the New York City Hospitality Alliance, who represents the city’s restaurant, nightlife and hotel industries, expressed the following: “There’s a concern that the zone waste policy could force consolidation among carters and drive up prices, and drive down service standards for small business owners.” Rigie also stated: “That’s why we need to ensure each zone will be serviced by multiple carters with rate caps and high service standards. Plus, there’s concern that it’s too soon to further expand the composting mandate to more restaurants before the major zone waste overhaul takes effect.”
Thus, many skeptics and businesses are taking a “let’s wait and see approach” as they hope that the Commissioner’s talk on Tuesday was simply about trash, not just trash talk. 
Patrick Delices is Contributing Editor at Black Star News.

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