• Wandeth Gonzo

New York City's Department of Sanitation




After garbage leaves the homes and offices of New York City, the Department of Sanitation (DSNY) is the first in the sequence of waste collection and it's a huge municipal government enterprise. DSNY collects more than 10,500 tons of refuse and 1,760 tons of recyclables a day. The DSNY uses many different waste-processing facilities for recyclable trash.


“Pratt Industries' paper facility in Staten Island, recycle paper products; while others, like the Sims Metal Management processing plant in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, specialize in recycling metal products.”


In the past, garbage that couldn’t be recycled was usually trucked or barged to landfills, such as the now-inactive Fresh Kills Landfill on Staten Island. And many New York City residents certainly remember when almost every large apartment building had an incinerator—a situation that came to an end in the late 1980s, when recycling was introduced and incinerators were banned.


Now days garbage is being exported from the city, whether by rail, by truck, or by barge. DSNY trucks bring the refuse to the fully-enclosed plant, where it is tipped from the trucks and then placed into rail containers, which are then sealed. 1 Once the garbage leaves waste-transfer facilities, it often ends up at private landfills in states like Ohio and Pennsylvania.1 Waste Management Inc. also operates recycling plants, also known as materials recovery facilities (MRFs). The materials run through a recycling plant facility are separated into different types (fiber, plastic, metal, glass), compressed, packed and shipped out to plants that convert these materials into new paper produces, containers, etc.


The NYC Department of Sanitation is the world’s largest sanitation department with 59 garages across the five boroughs. Let me give you the breakdown of the different bureaus that makes NYC Department of Sanitation what it is.


Commissioner’s Office provides day-to-day support, while developing and implementing longer-term, strategic priorities.

Bureau of Community Affairs: They represent the agency’s point of contact for the public and inter-agency partners. They represent us to elected officials, businesses, civic associations, community boards, other agencies, etc.

Central Correspondence Unit: Manages our 311 agency comments and our general correspondence

Community Liaison Unit: Works to increase community engagement by promoting our programs, services and proper practices.

Customer Service Unit: Monitors our agency’s service requests and complaints while maintaining our day-to-day interaction with 311.


First Deputy Commissioner’s Office: Monitors and facilitates the Department’s uniformed daily operations.

Enforcement Division: Enforces laws that govern clean streets and sidewalks, dumping, and proper storage and disposal of waste and recyclable materials

Field Inspection & Audit Team: Monitors and audits procedure and administration

Environmental Affairs: Specialized enforcement and regulation, comprised of the Permit and Inspection Unit and the Environmental Police Unit

Personnel Management Division: Monitors, controls and supports staffing within the Bureau of Cleaning and Collection

Division of Safety and Training: Leads and/or oversees administrative and operational training to enhance performance and safety

Regulatory Compliance and Career Development Division: Develops and enforces storm water management to meet or exceed New York State permitting requirements



Bureau of Cleaning and Collection: The Bureau of Cleaning and Collection cleans streets, collects refuse, recyclables and compost, and removes snow.

Bureau Operations Office: Primary internal communication center that oversees daily cleaning and collection facilities, equipment and performance

Cleaning Operations: Maintains street, sidewalk and property cleanliness; manages service in major public events

Collection Operations: Daily oversight of all collection activities, including refuse, recycling, compost and all other waste


Facilities Planning and Engineering oversees construction of new properties and rehabilitation projects for existing ones.

Design Unit: Technical units, including electrical, mechanical, civil and architectural

Construction Unit: Construction management oversees all projects in construction phase

Special Projects: Implements new building construction projects – from need assessment to construction completion – in addition to other operational bureau support


Financial Management and Administration’s units perform key administrative functions.

Engineering Audit Office: Independently audits: construction contracts; vendor payments; change orders approvals; equipment purchase contracts; construction-related services contracts; and other expense and capital contracts

Fiscal Services: Financial management and control of the agency’s $1.6 billion annual budget

Human Resources: Processes personnel and payroll for uniformed and civilian employees

Bureau of Information Technology: Manages all our aspects of computing and technology

Office of Labor Relations: Addresses day-to-day labor relations concerns with more than 30 unions

Medical Division: Monitors medical issues that may impact employees or operations, including pre-employment medical evaluations

Operations Management Division: Monitors, analyzes and strategizes ways to improve operations, productivity and performance

Bureau of Planning and Budget: Plans and manages expense and capital budgets

Work Experience Management Office: Administers the Job Training Participant Program, Summer Youth Employment Program and temporary initiatives


The Bureau of Legal Affairs is the Department’s in-house legal department, providing legal counsel, advice and assistance to bureaus – from contract procurement to drafting legislation to enforcing statues.

Intergovernmental Affairs Unit: Oversees implementation of our legislative program including drafting all changes to our rules and laws, monitoring all legislation that is introduced at the federal, state and city levels, and for implementing any new laws and rules

Environmental Affairs Unit: Responsible for ensuring that New York State and New York City Environmental Quality Review laws and procedures are followed

Contracts Unit: Reviews agency procurements and contracts and advises other bureaus on contract and procurement issues

Office of the Agency Chief Contracting Officer: Manages procurement needs in compliance with the City’s Procurement Policy Board rules

Office of Employee and Disciplinary Matters: Provides legal counsel on employment and personnel matters



The Bureau of Cleaning and Collection cleans streets, collects refuse, recyclables and compost, and removes snow.

Bureau Operations Office: Primary internal communication center that oversees daily cleaning and collection facilities, equipment and performance

Cleaning Operations: Maintains street, sidewalk and property cleanliness; manages service in major public events

Collection Operations: Daily oversight of all collection activities, including refuse, recycling, compost and all other waste


2016 Strategic Plan Outlines

ZERO WASTE: Launch New Services to Reach Zero Waste to Landfills

CLEANING: Make New York the Cleanest Large City in the U.S.

SNOW: Improve Snow Removal

OPERATIONS: Maximize Field Operations Efficiency

SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT PLAN: Complete Implementation of Solid Waste Management Plan

EMERGENCY: Enhance Emergency Preparation

FLEET: Optimize Our Fleet

FACILITIES: Invest to Modernize Facilities

SAFETY: Improve Safety of Our Operations for Employees and the Public

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT: Support Employees’ Professional Development

INCLUSIVITY: Build A Diverse and Inclusive DSNY Community

PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT: Engage New Yorkers as Partners to Keep Our City Healthy, Safe and Clean


Resources:


  1. Where Does it All Go? - Garbage In, Garbage Out. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://cooperator.com/article/garbage-in-garbage-out/full



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