Tuesday, March 20, 2007

New York City's Commercial Waste Hauling Sector

New York City's Commercial Waste Hauling Sector

An Opportunity for NYC to Ensure Cleaner, Quieter Waste Collection Operations for Its Citizens

New York, NY (PRWEB) February 9, 2006

INFORM, the national environmental research organization, today released the findings of its latest study, the first published profile of the commercial waste hauling sector operating in New York City. The report, New York City’s Commercial Waste Hauling Fleets – An Opportunity for New York City to Ensure Cleaner, Quieter Waste Collection Operations, reveals that the commercial waste hauling sector is much larger in scope than has been previously known.

“There are more than 3,600 trucks in this sector – many, if not most of them aging and hence making a significant contribution to New York City’s air pollution. By all rights this sector should be a prime target for efforts to reduce the City’s burden of vehicle-related pollution that is taking such a toll on the health and the quality of life of millions of New Yorkers,” said Joanna D. Underwood, President of INFORM.

Focusing on NYC’s Commercial Waste Haulers

“New York City’s commercial waste hauling sector provides an essential service to businesses throughout NYC. By its sheer size – more than one third larger than the New York Department of Sanitation’s (DSNY) fleet – this sector deserves much more attention than it has received to date,” said Underwood. They collect an estimated 10 million tons of waste per year, 75 percent of all waste generated in the City. The vehicles that these haulers use – among the most polluting and least fuel-efficient on our roads – collectively travel roughly 40 million miles a year.

Because many of the commercial fleet vehicles are old, operate many hours a day, and are inefficient users of fuel they produce significant emissions. Emissions for the entire commercial waste hauling fleet in New York City may be as high as 9,500 tons annually of particulate matter (PM) and of nitrogen oxides (NOx), a key component of health-threatening smog.

An Opportunity for Cleaner Air, Quieter Streets, and Increased Energy Independence

“Within the context of its 20-year Solid Waste Management Plan, DSNY has the opportunity to ensure that all city-owned or sponsored transfer sites operate as much as possible in such a manner as to reduce their negative impacts on those who live in proximity to the sites,” said Antonia Bryson, INFORM’s NYC Greening Garbage Trucks Project Coordinator, “and we hope they take it.” INFORM’s research shows that the environmental performance of commercial waste hauling fleets can be significantly improved by incorporating models powered by compressed natural gas (CNG) into the fleets.

“Of all refuse truck fuel and technology options, natural gas refuse trucks are today’s optimal choice for new fleet purchases,” said Bryson. They have three advantages over diesel: they are cleaner, quieter, and they use a fuel that is more secure than oil, most of it available domestically or from Canada. Current natural gas engines ensure lower NOx and PM emissions than new diesel engines and do not generate the fumes associated with diesel trucks that are especially problematic around waste transfer sites. They have engine noise levels that are much lower than those of diesel-powered trucks, helping improve the quality of life near transfer sites and more broadly across the communities in which they operate.

Three Strategies to Improve Emissions Performance of These Fleets

INFORM recommends that the City move toward: (1) retiring the oldest, most polluting vehicles in the fleets; (2) purchasing new trucks – the cleanest, quietest, and least dependent on oil-derived fuel; and, (3) adopting retrofit technologies for vehicles remaining in service. “Due to the combination of more stringent US Environmental Protection Agency regulations that are making diesel more expensive and federal incentives that are bringing down the costs of alternate fuel use, including natural gas, the cost differential between the two fuels is shrinking. In addition, the City has an array of further incentives and possible regulations it could use to promote change,” said Bryson.

“Transforming New York’s commercial hauling fleets is not alone going to resolve air pollution issues for the City but this report makes it clear that this is a sector that we need to start paying more attention to,” Underwood noted. “With regard to shifting trucks away from the use of oil-derived fuels, as was pointed out in the President’s recent State of the Union address, this is not just a local but a national priority.”


INFORM is a national, nonprofit research organization that examines the effects of business practices, technologies, and products on the environment and human health. For 30 years, INFORM has sought practical solutions to the environmental challenges of safeguarding humans and ecosystems from toxic chemicals, shifting to pollution-free transportation, and preventing solid waste. INFORM’s objective and constructive recommendations have been a key resource in helping members of government, industry, environmental groups, and communities around the world make decisions that promote economic and ecological sustainability.

For Further Information, contact Amy E. Scott, communications associate, at (212) 361-2400, ext. 228. You may access additional press material as well as the complete findings and recommendations of the study on INFORM’s website at www. informinc. org/ggt_project. php (http://www. informinc. org/ggt_project. php )