NEW YORK, NY– A private commercial waste hauling truck overturned in South Williamsburg, Brooklyn on Wednesday July 10, and some concerned citizens see this as an example of why New York City must implement commercial waste zones.

The early morning accident could have been avoided, and it is appropriate to see it as a signal of an industry in need of reform. However, one driver’s or company’s actions should not mean a whole industry is punished.

While we agree that the industry needs to work better, creating commercial waste zones is not the solution. We can increase safety by empowering the Business Integrity Commission (BIC) to better regulate the industry, without threatening small business and vulnerable workers.

My bill, Intro 0996-2018, empowers BIC to enhance safety and training in the industry.

The commission will be required to establish regulations creating standardized safety certifications, annual safety trainings for all employees, and training for all new hires. Training curriculum and number of hours required will be established by BIC, which must include a defensive driving course. Carting companies’ licenses will be contingent on all employees receiving required safety training.

Additionally, Intro 996 requires licensed carters to maintain at least a $2 million liability insurance policy for any personal injury to third parties. The bill enhances driver training and cracks down on companies that tolerate unsafe standards.

If New York City moves forward with a franchising system, we will fundamentally change the industry – and instead of solving a problem, we will likely have to conduct damage control.

Chicago and Boston considered franchising and concluded that it would disproportionately hurt small businesses by decreasing the level of service and hurting workers who already experience barriers to employment because they have less than a high school education or were formerly incarcerated.

Chicago and Boston rejected zones and instead engaged strengthening standards of environmental and safety outcomes for sanitation companies.

With good intention, Los Angeles implemented a zone system and began awarding franchise agreements to trash haulers. This led to skyrocketing prices, new service complaints, a formal apology from Los Angeles City Council, and may be the cause of increased illegal dumping.

We must preserve the open market system that enables competition and therefore affordable contracts. There are 200,000 business owners in the city paying for waste removal that are counting on us to do the right thing.