WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee’s hearing to examine challenges facing the U.S. recycling industry, today, U.S. Senator Tom Carper, top Democrat on the EPW Committee, and Senator John Boozman (R-Ark.), member of the committee – both co-chairs of the Senate Recycling Caucus – introduced bipartisan legislation that would expand the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to cover waste and recycling collection services.
This legislation would allow for waste and recycling collection services to be allowable expenses under the Paycheck Protection Program and eligible for loan forgiveness under the CARES Act.
“As our country continues to grapple with the fallout of China’s Green Fence policy and the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, many municipalities and businesses are unable to afford waste and recycling collection services. When recycling becomes unaffordable, recyclables are oftentimes incinerated or piled up in landfills, leaking toxins and polluting the air we breathe. Amid a respiratory pandemic whose effects are exacerbated by air pollution, this is a public health problem Congress cannot afford to ignore,” said Senator Carper, who founded the Senate Recycling Caucus in 2006. “By expanding the CARES Act Paycheck Protection Program to include waste and recycling services, we can ensure no Americans are forced to pay out of pocket for these basic services that keep our environment clean and protect our air.”
“I appreciate Senator Carper’s leadership to ensure waste and recycling collection services are eligible for PPP loans. Their employees have been on the frontlines to help keep our neighborhoods clean and minimize the spread of infectious diseases. These small businesses are vital industries and allowing them to qualify for participation in the PPP is important to maintaining this public service,” Senator Boozman said.
The Paycheck Protection Program, created in the CARES Act, provides loans that effectively become grants if the borrower satisfies the forgiveness requirements in their spending of the loan proceeds. To receive full forgiveness, the borrower must spend no less than 75 percent of the loan proceeds on payroll costs and no more than 25 percent of the proceeds on non-payroll covered costs.
The CARES Act specifies that non-payroll costs include mortgage interest, rent, and utilities (e.g. gas, electric, water). However, waste and recycling collections costs are not listed among the covered utility non-payroll costs. Senator Carper and Boozman’s new legislation would designate waste/recycling collection as a non-payroll utility cost.
Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) also joined the legislation as an original cosponsor alongside Senators Carper and Boozman. You may find the full text of the legislation introduced by Senators Carper, Boozman and Portman here.