In First Year, Waste Equity Law Relieves Communities of 10,000+ Tons of Waste Processing Capacity

December 9, 2020

Environmental Justice, Legislative, Media Coverage, News, Transform Don't Trash NYC, Waste Equity

Mayor Bill de Blasio signs the bill

In its first year of implementation, Local Law 152, or the Waste Equity Law, has achieved a reduction of over 10,000 tons of waste processing capacity in overburdened New York City districts as reported by the Department of Sanitation. NYLPI and our community partners in the Waste Equity Coalition advocated for the Waste Equity Law, requiring the Department of Sanitation to reduce the permitted capacity of putrescible and non-putrescible transfer stations in four designated community districts. After decades of advocacy, it was finally passed into law and signed by Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2018.

As of October 1, 2020, the permit cuts to transfer stations in the four most overburdened districts were complete. And because the permit cuts occurred on a rolling basis as each individual facility’s permit came up for renewal, these 10,000 tons cut in 2019-2020 are more modest than what the total cuts will be in coming years. This is a huge win for our Environmental Justice communities and the advocates who fought for years to see some relief. More than three-quarters of New York City trash has been trucked into low-income communities of color in the South Bronx, North Brooklyn and Southeast Queens. As a result, these communities suffer from higher asthma rates, greater air pollution, and more traffic fatalities than other New York neighborhoods. The Waste Equity Law withstood legal challenges by the solid waste industry and now there is finally relief for impacted communities from diesel fumes, unsafe truck traffic, and noxious odors that have plagued them for decades.

Senior Staff Attorney Melissa Iachan says in the Brooklyn Paper, “As the report by DSNY reveals, the law has accomplished a reduction in permitted transfer station capacity in our City’s most overburdened communities — those same communities who suffer from elevated asthma and higher COVID deaths…”

The full Brooklyn Paper article can be read here.

You can also read Council Member Reynoso’s full press release announcing the impact of the law here.

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