Portman Joins Carper and Boozman in Introducing Bipartisan Legislation to Allow Waste and Recycling Costs to be Eligible for SBA Loan Forgiveness

June 19, 2020 | Press Releases

WASHINGTON, DCFollowing the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee’s hearing to examine challenges facing the U.S. recycling industry, U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Tom Carper (D-DE), and John Boozman (R-AR) introduced bipartisan legislation that would allow businesses to include waste and recycling collection costs as eligible to be forgiven through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) created in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

This legislation builds upon Senator Portman’s leadership in improving our nation’s waste and recycling sector by introducing the RECYCLE Act (S. 2941), last November.

“I am pleased to join Senators Carper and Boozman in introducing this legislation today, which will amend the Paycheck Protection Program to include waste and recycling costs in the definition of expenses eligible for full loan forgiveness under the program,” said Senator Portman. “PPP already provides loan forgiveness for monthly operating expenses, such as rent payments and utility bills. This commonsense legislation will also allow the necessary expense of waste and recycling services to be forgiven. Not only will this provide additional flexibility and relief to small businesses, but it also recognizes that the waste and recycling industry is an essential service during this coronavirus crisis.”

“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. “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 operational expenses such as mortgage interest, rent, and gas, electric, water, transportation, and internet services. However, waste and recycling collections costs are not included. The senators’ new legislation would include waste and recycling costs to be included as an expense that is eligible to be forgiven.

You may find the full text of the legislation introduced by Senators Portman, Carper, and Boozman here.

NOTE: Senator Portman is the author of the RECYCLE Act, which would create a new federal grant program through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to help education households about their residential and community recycling programs. Reports have indicated that consumer confusion on how to properly recycle is one of the top recycling challenges, and that education and outreach both increase participation in recycling and decrease contamination. The RECYCLE Act has been praised by a number of key stakeholders.