- The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has approved nearly $15.3 billion in emergency funding for category "Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation Services" as of April 16. That pledged payout from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is part of the most recent federal stimulus package addressing coronavirus impacts.
- More than 72,400 loans associated with that category have been logged so far, representing almost 4.5% of all applications, according to data shared by SBA. Carol Wilkerson, a spokesperson with the agency, told Waste Dive more specific breakdowns by federal codes used for industries were not available. Because the category is so broad, it is unclear what percentage of the loans have gone specifically to waste and recycling companies.
- PPP loans are limited to companies with 500 or fewer employees, although large companies in some other industries have run into controversy over receiving loans for specific business units. Waste Management confirmed to Waste Dive it did not apply for stimulus relief at any locations. Republic Services did not respond to a request for comment.
These loans are part of the $2.2 trillion stimulus package signed last month, which included $377 billion for small business relief. That money has been divided among three different efforts, two of which allow businesses to apply for loans: the PPP and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (EIDL), a previously-established program that received more money due to the stimulus.
The EIDL includes a $10,000 grant that does not require reimbursement and a larger loan capping out at $2 million. Wilkerson of the SBA said that data regarding the breakdown of which industries have applied for those loans is not yet available.
The bulk of the stimulus funds for small businesses, around $349 billion, are through the PPP. The SBA initiative is aimed at helping companies recover some of their dramatic revenue loss. Its purpose is largely to ensure companies keep employees on their payroll, stemming the onslaught of layoffs and furloughs occurring around the country. Waste industry companies are among those taking that step in some areas. At least 75% of the loan must be used to cover payroll costs, among other requirements, for the total to be forgiven.
According to SBA data, the construction industry received the highest amount of funding at 13.12%. As the SBA data uses the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), it is unclear how much specifically may have gone to waste companies. The broader category including those companies (NAICS code 56), which received 4.47%, also includes the "Administrative and Support Services" subsector (561). That category includes many more employees than "Waste Management and Remediation Services" (562), which is itself broader than the traditional solid waste industry, and includes a range of unrelated sectors.
The National Waste and Recycling Association (NWRA) told Waste Dive it also does not have more specific data on PPP funding. The association has been actively seeking financial relief for the industry through a range of federal lobbying efforts. NWRA declined to comment on the current status of those efforts.
"I have heard from multiple members relative to concerns they have about getting paid," NWRA President and CEO Darrell Smith told Waste Dive on April 14.
Despite being deemed an essential service in most areas, waste was not singled out as a utility under the most recent federal package. That means those funds cannot be used to cover waste and recycling costs, a blow to municipal governments and small businesses unable to meet costs and seeking rate relief, which in turn affects haulers.
But Smith also indicated the stimulus programs are of interest to the industry. "I do know that some of our companies are in the process of taking advantage of loan programs that the federal government has made available," he said at the time.
David Biderman, CEO and executive director for the Solid Waste Association of North America, similarly told Waste Dive he knew of industry interest in aid but did not have any specific data.
"I am aware of several solid waste companies in the northeastern United States, including, a few with operations in New York City, that have applied for and received federal funding," Biderman said via email, although he caveated it is unclear which program they may have applied through.
Those companies granted funds may face a wait due to an overburdened and backlogged system. Other issues are also looming large – the PPP ran out of funds within 13 days. On Tuesday, lawmakers passed a new $480 billion stimulus that includes $310 billion for PPP, according to a draft obtained by CNN. President Donald Trump has indicated he will sign the new bill.
With additional reporting by Cole Rosengren
Editor's note: Have you applied for or received funding in connection with the federal stimulus package? We want to hear from you and are willing to speak without naming you. Please feel free to get in touch with us by email about your experience with the process.