The below is a copy of a letter that I sent to the President of the United States, key Cabinet Secretaries, and key United States Congressional Leaders on Friday, March 20, 2020 on behalf of Rubicon’s network of over 7,000 independent waste and recycling haulers.
Dear Mr. President:
As the COVID-19 public health emergency unfolds across the United States and the world, life as we know it is changing in new and challenging ways. The American economy is threatened, as is the health of every citizen. We are all being asked to find ways to contribute to the recovery while simultaneously adapting to a new way of engaging with our families, colleagues, and community.
I commend you for the vital steps you have taken to support federal, state, and local agencies in their responses, as well as for the additional steps you are considering to fortify our economy during this time.
Rubicon is a technology company that provides waste, recycling, and smart city solutions to thousands of commercial and municipal customers across 50 states and 20 countries. As a Certified B Corporation, we are committed to ending waste in all of its forms and to adhering to rigorous third-party verified environmental, social, and governance (ESG) standards.
Rubicon’s work is powered by a network of more than 7,000 independent haulers that provide waste and recycling services for many of the nation’s largest and most important brands. We also provide these vital services to the main street businesses within American communities across the country, like those in my home of Kentucky. Across Rubicon’s waste and recycling network, a majority of our partners are family-owned and operate small, regional fleets.
While so many of us are self-isolating and retreating from this spreading virus, the women and men who own these independent waste and recycling companies, and the people they employ, are working in our communities. As an “essential service,” these haulers must continue to keep our cities and towns sanitary by driving their routes and providing daily pick-ups. It is a thankless task – especially in times like these – but it is vital to ensure the public’s health.
As thousands of businesses that make up these independent hauling companies’ customer base are shuttered, haulers are experiencing an unprecedented strain on their bottom lines. The risk to these small businesses going bankrupt is real, and they need immediate help to maintain operations and ensure that they will survive this crisis. Most importantly, our society needs these businesses to remain operational because our country and communities cannot afford an additional threat to public health caused by uncollected waste and recycling.
Congress must help to ensure that this important public service remains uninterrupted. I strongly urge government leaders to support these businesses during this time of need, especially given the critical role that they play in our nation’s response to COVID-19. Ideas for consideration include:
- Providing Small Business Administration grants that extend beyond the restaurant and retail sectors, for those that are directly impacted by the trickle-down effect of mandated closures.
- Expanding the Small Business Interruption Loan program to provide for twelve weeks of payroll loans, rather than the current six weeks for such loans.
- Lowering the percentage threshold from 10% unemployment to 5% unemployment for states to receive assistance in processing unemployment claims from the recently appropriated $1 billion emergency grants.
- Temporarily reducing or eliminating both the employer and employee portions of the payroll tax.
Thank you for your consideration of this timely request. I am committed to being an information resource on this critical economic and public health issue. Please let me know if I can help in any way.
Chairman and CEO, Rubicon