Sanitation Updates: Commercial Waste Zones & Containerization

NYC’s Department of Sanitation released new updates about Commercial Waste Zones & Containerization in January 2024. We’ve shared a lot of Sanitation updates in 2022 and 2023, but here’s the latest breakdown of what you need to know:

Commercial Waste Zones – What Are They?

Local Law 199 of 2019 reformed commercial waste practices, establishing Commercial Waste Zones in an effort to increase pedestrian safety, decrease pollution, and improve the industry to benefit commercial waste customers. Specifically:

The Council therefore finds and declares that commercial waste reform in New York City is necessary to promote the public health, safety and welfare of all New Yorkers. Therefore, the Council intends to authorize the commissioner of sanitation to establish commercial waste collection zones by dividing the City’s geographic area into several zones and authorizing a small number of private carters to serve businesses within each zone through a competitive solicitation process. The application of this local law will create a safe and efficient collection system that provides high quality service, and reduces the harmful environmental impacts of the trade waste industry in New York City.

Additionally, safety reforms for these approved carters will be part of the rollout. This includes equipment installation, lighting and mirror changes, and required annual worker safety training.

The DSNY has now established no-cost contracts with carters directly authorized to operate in a specific Commercial Waste Zone. Per the update, “Three carters were selected in each of the 20 zones to provide small businesses with service choices and competitive pricing….Under the agreements being announced today, carters must charge their customers less for the collection of recycling and compostable material than they do for the collection of refuse, giving New York City’s 200,000 businesses an opportunity to save money while helping divert material from landfill.”

Queens Central Commercial Waste Zone Rollout

DSNY has announced awardees by zone (linked here), including the first zone – Queens Central, encompassing Jackson Heights, Corona, and Elmhurst. This commercial waste zone will come online in Fall 2024, piloting the project and informing the remainder of the rollout. You can see a full map of the city’s Commercial Waste Zones here.

For Queens Central, awardees are the following groups:

  • Basin Haulage Inc.
  • MRT BWR, Corp.
  • Waste Connections of New York, Inc.

If you have properties in Queens Central, you can expect future communications from the department. Per the release, “Before the law goes into effect in each zone, every business in that zone will receive substantial direct and multilingual outreach from DSNY, providing ample time to transition service if required. Businesses may also find all information about this program at or”

Resources for the Commercial Waste Zone program, including the full press release, can be found here. If you have questions, you can also reach out to 

Containerization Reminders

In addition to Commercial Waste Zone announcements, the DSNY reminded teams that starting March 1, 2024, all businesses in NYC must use bins with secure lids when setting out trash for collection.

Download DSNY’s reminder flyer here.

The rule applies to any business in NYC, “regardless of what is sold.” Perishable material (including trash or organic material) must be in a bin with a secure lid when set out on the curb. This requirement does not apply to businesses that have waste collected from a loading dock.

Per the department, bins should also be stored inside or in a rear yard if possible. Alternatively (if there’s no space), bins can also be stored within 3 feet of the building line when not set out for collection. Finally, bins must be maintained in a “neat and orderly manner” and allow for a clear path of pedestrian travel on the sidewalk.

The DSNY is hosting a number of sessions to help teams prepare. You can find the full schedule and more details at the city’s site, linked here.

Additional Requirement Reminders

As part of the announcement, DSNY shared some additional reminders:

  • The food-related business containerization rule is in effect as of 8/1/2023.  All catering establishments, food manufacturers, food preparation establishments, food service establishments, food wholesalers, and retail food stores must use a bin to keep streets clean and avoid a fine.
  • The chain business containerization rule is in effect as of 9/5/2023. This includes all businesses with five or more locations in New York City.
  • Recycling: Bins with secure lids can be set out at the curb 1 hour before closing. Clear bags can only be used after 8 PM

We’ll keep you posted on future Sanitation updates, including additional Commercial Waste Zone rollouts and any changes following the start of the program this Fall.

Related Articles

About the Author

Kristen Hariton

Kristen Hariton is the Vice President, Product Engagement at SiteCompli, focused on exploring new solutions and innovations in property operations tech. When she's not sharing the latest industry trends, changes, and updates, she's planning her next adventure to Walt Disney World.