FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 28, 2022
City Council Members Keith Powers, Sandy Nurse, and Shahana Hanif
Introduce Robust Zero Waste Legislative Package
The legislative package will massively increase organic composting accessibility and capacity across all communities while requiring the city to meet 2030 waste diversion goals
New York, NY – Today, City Council Members Keith Powers, Sandy Nurse, and Shahana Hanif introduced an extensive environmental package aimed at meeting New York City’s Zero Waste goals. These bills will greatly broaden environmental equity across communities, mandate the city’s zero waste goals, and dramatically expand the city’s composting capacity throughout all five boroughs. As our city recovers, rebuilds, and reimagines its future, this package lays the groundwork for a healthier, greener, and more sustainable New York City.
“Everyday, New Yorkers face the crisis of climate change but lack tangible ways to take action in their daily lives,” said City Council Majority Leader Keith Powers. “This Zero Waste package will not only greatly expand accessibility to composting and recycling across our city, but will also make it easier for New Yorkers to incorporate environmental action into their routines. Environmental sustainability must be at the center of New York City’s future—and this package of legislation is absolutely essential to making that a reality.”
“This slate of environmental legislation is a historic–and urgently required–step toward ensuring a livable future for all New Yorkers,” said Sanitation Chair and Council Member Sandy Nurse. “The City’s goal of sending Zero Waste to landfills by 2030 must be mandated and tracked – and the bills to improve access to community recycling and introduce universal curbside composting are essential in getting us there. These bills are a call to action for our city to get serious about climate change. I’m proud to stand with my colleagues as we set NYC on the path to being a national and global leader in addressing climate change, environmental justice, and waste equity.”
“In 2018, New York City had the largest composting program in the nation, serving the five boroughs and 3.5 million people. Today, I’m introducing legislation so that New York City can once again be a global leader in the fight for environmental justice,” said Council Member Shahana Hanif. “Right now, far too many working-class Black and brown New Yorkers are excluded from this vital environmental program that is good for our City and our planet. With my universal residential composting legislation, almost every single New Yorker will have the ability to divert organic waste away from harmful landfills and toward regenerative and environmentally conscious composting facilities. With the support of Speaker Adams, I am so proud to be introducing this bill to ensure New York City addresses the climate crisis like the head-on challenge it is.
“As a Council, we are focused on advancing legislation that confronts the climate crisis and ensuring that our city is clean and healthy,” said Speaker Adrienne Adams. “Creating a citywide mandatory organic waste curbside collection program will expand access to composting and divert organic waste from landfills that pollute the environment. I thank Majority Leader Powers, Council Member Hanif, and Council Member Nurse for their leadership, and I look forward to seeing the impact of the Council’s legislation.”
Council Member Majority Leader Powers reintroduced the Community Organics and Recycling Empowerment (CORE) Act. The CORE Act is composed of two pieces of legislation. The first bill substantially increases equitable access to composting and recycling in New York City by requiring easily accessible drop-off sites for organics in all community districts, open for at least 20 hours every week. The second bill allows for the collection of recyclable materials like electronics, textiles, and other materials for recycling, which cannot be disposed of into our general waste stream under New York State law.
Council Member Nurse introduced legislation requiring the Department of Sanitation (DSNY) to report on the city’s progress toward sending zero waste to landfills, while also mandating the administration to meet New York City’s Zero Waste goals by 2030.
Council Member Hanif’s legislation mandates universal residential composting by the end of 2023 for nearly every building in New York City. This bill also ensures that the city maintains curbside collection by requiring DSNY to report on their website the total amount of organic waste diverted, and increases education and outreach by requiring residential buildings to distribute information to tenants.
“The Council’s Earth Day Legislative package demonstrates that proper waste management is a top priority for the City Council – as it should be,” said Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso. “Many components of the package are programs I championed during my time as Sanitation Chair on the Council and I’m glad they’re still being advocated for. I am particularly excited about the prospect of a mandatory citywide organics collections program, a bold step that avoids the half measures of past organics programs. If adapted these programs will not only improve our waste management system, but improve quality of life and combat climate change in our beloved city.”
“A cleaner, greener NYC will require scaling up efforts in every neighborhood to get to zero waste,” said Comptroller Brad Lander. “A universal organic waste program will help reduce emissions and expanded access to recycling will help reduce the plastics piling up in our landfills and oceans. Investing in a less wasteful urban ecosystem will lead to a thriving, livable city now and for the future.”
“To build a more sustainable, resilient, and just city, we must address the way we manage sanitation and solid waste. For too long we have strained the environment and frontline communities with contamination and pollution,” said Council Member Gale A. Brewer. “Zero waste is an ambitious, but attainable goal. New Yorkers care about the environment, and with education, awareness, and the appropriate resources, I am confident that the City can implement a universal organics curbside program and other initiatives that make significant reductions in the amount of waste sent to landfills and incinerators.”
“Furthering the City’s zero waste goals is as critical to our climate justice efforts as it is to improving the daily lives of New Yorkers across the five boroughs,” said Council Member Carlina Rivera. “My district is home to some of New York City’s most beloved restaurants, arts institutions, and cultural venues, attracting high levels of foot traffic and with it, higher levels of waste. We shouldn’t have to sacrifice the enjoyment of our communities for successful and accessible waste management innovations. I am proud to stand alongside my colleagues in the introduction of the Zero Waste legislative package, ensuring all New Yorkers are able to contribute to a more sustainable future.”
“Composting is essential to solving food insecurity and empowers our community for long-term food sovereignty by encouraging urban farming and mindful waste management,” said Council Member Julie Won. “As the pandemic normalized working from home, our households produced double the amount of waste. When we needed composting the most, our city cut residential curbside composting forgoing sustainable waste management. I’m proud to co-sponsor the universal residential composting bill making composting mandatory throughout our city to guarantee longevity of curbside composting. Thank you Council Members Powers, Nurse, and Hanif for introducing this package which brings us closer to an environmentally just city.”
“Climate change is one of the biggest threats facing our city. It is crucial we take the necessary steps to meet New York City’s Zero Waste goals,” said Council Member James F. Gennaro, Chair of the New York City Council’s Committee on Environmental Protection. “This package of bills paves the way for a more sustainable future by making it easier to recycle e-waste and compost across the five boroughs. I thank Council Members Keith Powers, Sandy Nurse and Shahana Hanif for their leadership and urge my colleagues to support this legislation.”
“Providing equitable recycling options to all City residents is critical to take real steps to address the waste crisis,” said Julie Tighe, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters. “The CORE Act bills are priorities for NYLCV and were included as part of our 2021 Scorecard, and we’re excited to support them as they are again considered in the Council. We are also incredibly excited to see citywide curbside organics collection legislation, this is the forward thinking we need to truly achieve zero waste. Thanks to Councilmembers Powers, Nurse, and Hanif for their leadership on these critical bills.”
“The Zero Waste environmental package put forward by Council Members Keith Powers, Sandy Nurse, and Shahana Hanif aligns with our mission to empower all New Yorkers to pursue a clean and healthy city, now and for future generations,” said GrowNYC President and CEO Marcel Van Ooyen. “We commend the long-term goal of mandatory curbside composting to advance New York City’s zero waste goals and are grateful for such leaders who prioritize the environmental health of New York City.”
“Our communities need solutions that meet their unique needs, and institutions that will be held accountable to pursuing Zero Waste goals, which are so essential for our future as a society,” said Sure We Can Executive Director Ryan Castalia. “The city has let community-level workers pick up the slack for too long. We’re excited to see the Council taking strong steps to make NYC the example it should be for inclusive, sustainable waste management.”
“How our city manages its waste is one of the most important aspects in the fight for climate and environmental justice,” said Executive Director of TREEage Shiv Soin. “That’s why I am proud to stand with Council Members Hanif, Nurse, and Powers in introducing legislation that will truly create a Zero Waste New York City. TREEage’s 250+ high school and college students across New York City are fighting for a greener and better future for us all. Our students are excited and ready to organize in order to make this package of legislation a reality.”
“We will never achieve our Zero waste goals if we don’t take bold actions,” said Founder of Compost Power Domingo Morales. “NYC residents deserve equal access to all zero waste initiatives.”
“This is a red-letter day in the City Council’s long-running efforts to achieve healthier, more sustainable, more neighborhood-friendly waste programs for all New Yorkers,” said Eric A. Goldstein, New York City Environment Director at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “If City officials want to reduce the amount of waste we are dumping in landfills and incinerators (often located in Black and brown communities) and cut back on the growing costs of waste export (now approaching $500 million a year), full-scale expansion of food scrap and yard waste composting is way to go. Bravo to Councilmembers Keith Powers, Sandy Nurse and Shahana Hanif for their leadership in introducing this path-breaking legislative package.”
“Earth Matter NY supports the CORE Act, Zero Waste Reporting and Universal Residential Curbside Composting,” said Co-Founder of Earth Matter Marisa DeDominicis. “Together these measures will ensure a successful, equitable collaboration between government and citizens to recycle our food scraps, one of the most basic ways that we can all change the current trend of resources to ruinous landfills, and instead, nurture our city’s soil.”