New York City Waste Equity Law
New York City’s Council passed Local Law 152 in 2018 – seven years after the City adopted its Solid Waste Management Plan (SWMP) – to equitably distribute the waste collection process throughout the City to balance the infrastructural burdens across all boroughs.
Before Local Law 152 went into effect, North Brooklyn, Southeast Queens, and the South Bronx experienced a disproportionate number of privately-operated transfer stations in their communities.1 Consequently, these neighborhoods — primarily low-income communities of color — were disproportionately experiencing health concerns and other hazards associated with heavy truck traffic and air pollution. In response, Local Law 152, better known as Waste Equity Law:
- Reduces the amount of waste private transfer stations can accept by up to 50% in North Brooklyn and 33% in the South Bronx and Southeast Queens2
- Prohibits new waste transfer stations from entering neighborhoods handling over 10% of the City’s waste3
- Requires the Department of Sanitation to submit quarterly and annual reports to the mayor and the speaker of the council
- Helped the City reduce over 10,000 tons of waste processing capacity in four districts4
The Waste Equity Law, and Solid Waste Management Plan, are made possible by a coalition led by the NYC Environmental Justice Alliance in partnership with New York Lawyers for the Public Interest. The plan establishes the structure of the City’s solid waste management through 2025 and will drive down truck traffic and greenhouse gas emissions. These changes will lead to cleaner air, less congested (and safer) streets, the adaptation of resilient infrastructure, and healthier environments for all residents.
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