Cardboard Picking Target of NYC Law

Cardboard theft bill designed to protect revenue of haulers and city’s Department of Sanitation.

July 24, 2013
Recycling Today Staff
Legislation & Regulations Paper

The New York City Council has approved a local law that would amend the administrative code of the city of New York, making it unlawful to remove or accept certain recyclable material.

The National Solid Wastes Management Association (NSWMA), Washington, has applauded a bill that it says will increase the penalties against unlicensed carters and others who remove cardboard and other recyclables from licensed haulers' customers.

The law, known as Intro 889A, was approved along with other environmental legislation. It has been designed to reduce losses suffered by both licensed carters and the city’s Department of Sanitation (DSNY), says NSWMA in a news release.

Licensed carters primarily collect recyclables from commercial customers while DSNY primarily collects recyclables from residential customers. The legislation was sponsored by 11 council members.

NSWMA says it “championed” the legislation after working with New York City officials to investigate specific cardboard theft incidents. NSWMA testified at a New York City Council hearing in June 2012 in support of the legislation and has been lobbying City officials to finalize the bill for more than one year.

“NSWMA and its members are very pleased the City Council has passed Intro 889A,” says NSWMA General Counsel David Biderman. “NSWMA members in New York City are losing $8 million to $10 million per year due to cardboard theft.” Biderman adds that cardboard theft occurs daily in New York City, noting an NSWMA member hired a private investigator last month to observe cardboard theft on one of his routes.

Tom Toscano, NSWMA New York City Chapter Chair and the chief financial officer at Mr. T Carting, Glendale, N.Y., adds, “The daily theft of cardboard hurts our entire industry, from small family-owned hauling operators to larger firms who lose the revenue, and their customers that feel the loss in greater fees. We hope that the city rigorously enforces this law against the illegal carters who operate in the city.”

The law will take effect after Mayor Michael Bloomberg signs it, which supporters say is likely.

The NSWMA is a sub-association of the Environmental Industry Associations. It represents for-profit solid waste collection, recycling and disposal companies in North America.