City officials are focusing on reforming the commercial waste hauling industry with the goal of reducing pollution and improving worker safety. The New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY) has proposed dividing the City into 20 zones that would be serviced by three to five carters each. Unions—including the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Joint Council 16—and environmental advocacy groups favor an exclusive zoning model under which a single carter would service each zone. City Council Sanitation Committee Chair Antonio Reynoso (D-Brooklyn) is drafting legislation on the issue that is expected to be introduced sometime this summer.
While GNYHA shares this legislation’s goal, we believe that DSNY’s proposal and the exclusive zoning model would be impractical and costly for hospitals. Many systems have facilities located in multiple zones and would need to contract with multiple carters. This would be bureaucratically complex and costlier than contracting with one company. Unlike other buildings and industries, hospitals are unable to raise their prices for most of the patients they serve. Increased waste hauling costs would be particularly problematic for financially fragile safety net hospitals.
GNYHA has had extensive discussions with de Blasio Administration officials on this issue. We also plan to meet with key Council members and staff to explain the unique problems hospitals would face if the final law does not provide adequate flexibility.