The demand for funds from the coronavirus-era Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) allocated to small businesses in the waste and recycling industry appears to be falling off this year when compared to the program at large, based on initial data posted by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) on Feb. 1.
Loans awarded to industry operators in January 2021 across businesses classified in the solid waste collection, landfill, MRF, and combustion categories, total approximately $40.7 million. That amount accounts for close to 5% of the overall funds secured by waste and recycling industry recipients over the course of the program's history.
By comparison, the 2021 net dollars approved for lending in the PPP program at large as of Feb. 21 were approximately $140.3 billion, or 21% of the overall amount in the program's history.
Despite slow economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, there have been encouraging signs in the fourth quarter and early this year that affected waste volumes are recovering from pandemic lows, according to observations shared by the industry's publicly traded companies. Still, six waste collection companies and one MRF company secured PPP loans worth over $1 million in January, with 345 industry entities total listed as having loans approved.
PPP, envisioned to help businesses maintain employees amid the unprecedented pandemic-era challenges, has been among the relief options available to companies in the solid waste and recycling industry affected by a shifting mix of waste volumes and revenue streams. Eligibility requirements have changed over time, with a focus on small and mid-sized companies, and have evolved to allow some businesses to receive a second loan.
"It is a program that we have strongly supported — we have urged members of Congress at every opportunity to fund the program," said National Waste & Recycling Association Vice President of Communications Brandon Wright.
More than 4,000 industry companies obtained a collective $811.4 million in loans through the first round of the program. Rubicon led the pack with nearly $9.8 million which reportedly covered 290 jobs.
Funds allocated in January had a median loan amount of $46,867, compared to a median level of $58,400 across the program's history. The average amount is also comparatively lower for this latest group: about $118,050 versus $193,621 when factoring in last year's recipients.
In this latest batch of loans approved, the total number of reported jobs retained was 4,353, bringing the industry total across the program's history to 81,568. Regionally, states with the greatest numbers of industry recipients so far in 2021 are Florida, New York, Texas, New Jersey, California and Illinois.
The top 10 allocations across 345 industry recipients in 2021
|Company||State||Loan Amount||Jobs Retained|
|Cardella Trucking Co Inc||NJ||$2,000,000||103|
|Century Waste Services L.L.C.||NJ||$1,700,262||67|
|Mr. T Carting Corp||NY||$1,567,210||69|
|B & K Technology Solutions Inc||IL||$1,343,100||150|
|Independent Recycling Services Inc.||IL||$1,168,217||264|
|Lloyd's Construction Services Inc.||MN||$1,140,767.37||86|
|Filco Carting Corp.||NY||$1,035,300||60|
|Buffalo Biodiesel Inc||NY||$953,192.50||67|
|Northstar Pulp & Paper||MA||$910,171.48||80|
|Avid Waste Systems Inc||NY||$758,607||62|
SOURCE: U.S. Small Business Administration
Waste Dive has formatted a revised list of all industry recipients for public access, including 2021 data.
Declining waste industry participation had been anticipated by some financial analysts, based on the expectation that a combination of rightsized commercial activity and the work required to seek a loan would result in lower interest from companies in this round.
Now, the Biden administration is prioritizing the smallest businesses to receive support from the program, per an announcement last week. PPP is in the midst of a two-week exclusivity window during which businesses with fewer than 20 employees are encouraged to submit for loans.
There's additional billions of dollars in funding for PPP on the table in Biden's House-passed American Rescue Plan, which the Senate is set to vote on this week. The plan also includes $350 billion for state and local governments.
Cole Rosengren and Matt Leonard contributed to this story.