Design Talks NYC

Kathryn Garcia

Sanitation Commissioner, Department of Sanitation New York City


Appointed in March 2014 by Mayor Bill de Blasio, Commissioner Kathryn Garcia leads the world’s largest municipal sanitation department and its 9,700 uniformed and civilian employees. Under her direction, the department keeps New York City healthy, safe and clean by collecting, recycling and disposing waste, cleaning streets and vacant lots, and clearing snow and ice.


After her appointment as the Department’s 43rd commissioner, Kathryn set an ambitious long-term goal for New York City: contribute zero waste to landfills. To achieve this goal, DSNY has developed the nation’s largest curbside organic waste collection program, collected and properly recycled more than 10 million pounds of electronic waste, and launched DonateNYC to help New York City residents and businesses give goods, find goods, and do good.


Since 2015, DSNY has taken steps to bring the commercial waste sector in line with the City’s zero waste goals. In 2016, Kathryn announced requirements for large food waste generators to source separate organic waste, and those regulations are currently being expanded to cover large restaurants and grocery stores. In 2017, the City embarked on a multi-year effort to implement commercial waste collection zones in New York City, and the implementation plan is set to be released in 2018.


A lifelong New Yorker, Kathryn launched her career as an intern at the Department of Sanitation. Before returning to the Department as Commissioner, she served as Chief Operating Officer at the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, where she was responsible for the operation of the City’s water supply, water and sewer system, and wastewater treatment plants. Kathryn earned her Bachelor of Arts in Economics and History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.



Kathryn Garcia