Press Releases

WASHINGTON— Following the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee’s hearing to examine challenges facing the recycling industry, Senate Recycling Caucus Co-chairs John Boozman (R-AR) and Tom Carper (D-DE), senior Democrat on the committee, 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 designate waste and recycling collection services allowable expenses under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), making them eligible for loan forgiveness under the CARES Act.

“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,” Boozman said.

“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 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.”

Created in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the PPP provides low-interest loans to small businesses and can be eligible for forgiveness. 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. 

This legislation would designate waste/recycling collection as a non-payroll utility cost. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) also is an original cosponsor. 

Earlier this month, Boozman and Carper wrote a letter to Senate leaders urging them to support waste and recycling service employees in future coronavirus relief packages and their needs as frontline workers during this pandemic.