New York City Chapter of the NW&RA members testify against Intro 495

National Waste & Recycling Association says the bill proposes to reduce waste transfer station capacity in select neighborhoods in the city.

February 17, 2015

The New York City Council’s Committee on Sanitation and Solid Waste Management held a hearing Feb. 13, 2015, on Intro 495, a bill that proposes to reduce waste transfer station capacity in select neighborhoods in the city. Tom Toscano, president of the New York Chapter of the National Waste & Recycling Association (NW&RA) and chief financial officer for Mr. T Carting Corp., and David Biderman, general counsel and vice president for government affairs at NW&RA, along with additional leaders of local organizations, testified in opposition of the bill, citing job loss, increased traffic and higher costs for local New York City businesses.

Council Members Stephen Levin and Antonio Reynoso introduced the bill last October.

“If Intro 495 becomes law, garbage trucks will have to travel further to the transfer stations in northern Queens, western Brooklyn and Staten Island,” Toscano said. “These trucks will then have to travel back to their yards, most of which are located in northern Brooklyn and western Queens. This will actually increase truck traffic.”

In addition to Toscano and Biderman, testimony against Intro 495 came from the following local leaders:
  • James W. Versocki, counsel for Greater New York City Chapter, New York State Restaurant Association; 
  • Mike Hellstrom, business manager and secretary treasurer, Laborers Union Local 108 Greater New York Metropolitan Area;
  • Ron Bergamini, president of Action Environmental, New York City’s largest private carting company;
  • Andy Moss, regional government affairs manager, Progressive Waste Solutions/IESI;
  • Laura Imperiale, director of government affairs for Tully Environmental;  
  • Jerry Antonacci, president, Crown Container;
  • David Hillcoat of Cooper Tank; and
  • several waste employees who are concerned they will lose their jobs if this bill is enacted.

“Intro 495 is a job killer and must be stopped in its tracks,” Hellstrom said.

“While it seems that this bill has good intentions, it amplifies the problem it seeks to solve,” said Chris Hickey, regional director for the New York City Chapter of the New York State Restaurant Association. “This law simply moves garbage from one place to another, which will only exacerbate the problem and cause the loss of jobs in the process.”

Many workers for and supporters of the carting industry attended the hearing, wearing bright orange shirts reading “Don’t Trash Good Jobs” and chanting “jobs matter” in unison, the NW&RA reports.

Nearly 100 people participated in a rally on the steps of City Hall in New York City in opposition to Intro 495 Jan. 22, including council members Benjamin Kallos and Mark Treyger, who spoke out strongly against the bill. The rally included dozens of representatives each from Laborers Local Union 108, United Service Workers Union Local 339 and the International Union of Journeyman & Allied Trades Local 726, NW&RA members and business groups, including the New York City Restaurant Association, the NW&RA reports.

Prior to the hearing, Toscano and Hellstrom co-authored an op-ed requesting to work with the New York City Council and de Blasio administration to implement effective measures that will reduce trash-truck traffic while maintaining the critical infrastructure needed to maintain the industry locally.

The NW&RA, Washington, is a trade association that represents the private sector waste and recycling services industry.