The City Council’s misguided rush to trash garbage collection

There may be no Democratic or Republican way to pick up garbage, but New York City sure knows how to make it political.

On Wednesday, the City Council is set to curb the volume of trash headed for waste-transfer facilities in the South Bronx, East Williamsburg in Brooklyn and Jamaica, Queens.

Councilmembers from those areas claim their constituents are saddled with more than their share of city-waste traffic.

No one likes waste-transfer facilities in their backyard. But they’ve got to be located somewhere. And the Bloomberg administration already instituted a plan to distribute the burden fairly a decade ago.

Yet the council’s new lower trash cap for these areas seems based mostly on the political pull of their lawmakers — hardly the best way to handle an unsexy but vital component of running the city. Indeed, its rush to pass it just one day after the city’s Department of Sanitation released a report on the consequences speaks volumes.

Meanwhile, groups representing the private-carting industry and businesses dependent on them — the Real Estate Board of New York, the New York Building Congress, etc.
— worry about the impact: facilities losing income and possibly closing; the loss of jobs; higher fees businesses will have to pay for private trash pick-up; even more truck traffic.

The lower cap would also add turmoil to an industry that already fears a Sanitation plan to create zones and limit competition in each of them to a select few carters.

This is no way to plan garbage collection. Councilmembers should vote down the new cap and work with Sanitation, and the industry, to figure out the fairest and most practical way of sharing the burden.

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