A Queens SWAB existed after the passage of a local law in 1989 and lasted until the early 2000s, but was discontinued. Goodman, along with Amy Marpman, sought to bring it back.
In 2018, they started meeting monthly and tried to build up committee from the ground up. They began meeting in living rooms, then later at bars and restaurants as it grew.
Eventually, they met all across the borough at places like Flushing Town Hall, LaGuardia Community College and St. John’s University.
Last summer, the group also gathered a few times at Queens Borough Hall.
“Once COVID happened, we grew our numbers even more,” Goodman said, noting that they now meet on Zoom. “We have about 15 to 20 people actively involved with us.”
Councilman Donovan Richards, the Democratic nominee for borough president, will formally recognize QSWAB, giving them a regular time and place to meet. The recognition means there will be an application process for appointment to the committee.
“It puts us on par with Brooklyn and Manhattan,” Goodman said.
QSWAB is still working to finalize its mission and vision statements, though Goodman, who chairs the organization, said environmental justice, waste equity and examining impacts of waste on communities of color are high priorities. Their subcommittees engage, explore and educate the public about waste issues.
Goodman said while Manhattan has a focus on policy, and Brooklyn prioritizes organics, she wants the QSWAB to address construction and demolition waste.
“That’s a huge part of the wastestream that doesn’t really get talked about,” she said.
The group will focus on other issues, too, like reimagining the city’s organics brown bin program, extended producer responsibility and upcycling.
“Queens has a long way to go,” Goodman said.