WE ACT for Environmental Justice Applauds New York City Council for Passing Zero Waste Bill Package

Legislation Expected to Reduce Pests and Improve Quality of Life, Especially in Environmental Justice Communities



June 8, 2023
Contact: Chris Dobens, chris@weact.org, 718-679-8542


HARLEM, NY – Today the New York City Council passed the Zero Waste bill package, which will task the New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY) with meeting a citywide waste diversion goal by 2030 by tracking its progress toward sending zero waste to landfills by 2030, establishing at least one community recycling center and at least three organics drop off sites in each district, and creating a citywide curbside organics collection program for residential buildings.

“This legislation will ensure that the City takes a more responsible approach to waste reduction and management, which is better for our communities and better for the planet,” said Lonnie Portis, WE ACT for Environmental Justice’s New York City Policy and Advocacy Manager. “And it will be especially beneficial to residents of Northern Manhattan – where pests, recycling, composting, and waste disposal have long been challenges – as well as the environmental justice communities outside of New York City that have historically been burdened with the disposal of our city’s waste.”

The Zero Waste bill package includes the following legislation:

Intro 244-A: Mandatory Curbside Composting Program
This will require the DSNY to create a curbside organics composting collection program for residential buildings citywide. As part of this program, the DSNY will need to publish an implementation plan by July 2023 that maximizes composting as an end-use, as opposed to co-digestion, as well as produce educational materials and conduct outreach to maximize participation. The DSNY will also need to establish collection sites in at least 30 community districts by October 2023 and citywide by October 2024. Building owners who fail to comply by April 2025 will face financial penalties.

Intro 274-A: Zero Waste Goals
Rather than achieve 100-percent diversion of citywide waste by 2020, this will require the DSNY to recycle 100 percent of its waste by 2030.

Intro 275-A: Zero Waste Reporting
This will require the DSNY to publish an annual Zero Waste report that includes plans for achieving the citywide goal of Zero Waste by 2030, including plans for each waste stream – such as commercial and construction/demolition waste streams.

Intro 280-A: CORE Act – Recycling
This will require the DSNY to establish at least two community recycling centers in each community district, and conduct additional community recycling events.

Intro 281-A: CORE Act – Composting
This will require the DSNY to maintain at least three organic waste drop-off sites in each community district, and make those sites available to the public for at least 20 hours per week. This requirement may be reviewed in 2026.

“We thank New York City Council Members Shahana Hanif, Sandy Nurse, and Keith Powers for their leadership on this,” added Portis. “And we urge New York City Mayor Eric Adams to sign these bills into law.”

WE ACT has been doing community outreach and education on composting and other waste issues and looks forward to working with the City on a successful implementation of expanded composting resources once the Mayor signs these bills into law.

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WE ACT for Environmental Justice is a Northern Manhattan membership-based organization whose mission is to build healthy communities by ensuring that people of color and/or low-income residents participate meaningfully in the creation of sound and fair environmental health and protection policies and practices. WE ACT has offices in New York and Washington, D.C. Visit us at weact.org and follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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