The legislature held a public hearing Wednesday morning on a bill that would allow businesses that pursue circular economy and environmental sustainability activities to apply for a Qualifying Certificate or QC.
Sen. Clynt Ridgell, who introduced the bill, says the concept behind the circular economy is simple — to make every effort to reuse or recycle products so it can fulfill some other purpose.
He says Bill 401 lays the foundation for the circular economy by encouraging businesses to find ways to repurpose materials.
Melanie Mendiola, GEDA administrator, says the development authority has reviewed the bill and supports the legislation.
Mendiola says while they look forward to the bill moving into the legislative process, they have some observations on the bill.
First, she says the current QC recycling program already authorizes the issuance of qualifying certificates to duly licensed companies in which no less than 80 percent of its operations are specifically committed to recycling.
So far, she said there have been no applicants since the program started two decades ago.
Mendiola said qualified companies could receive the following tax benefits under the QC recycling program:
- 100% BPT abatement for 10 years;
- 100% income tax rebate for 10 years, and;
- 100% used tax exemption for 10 years.
“And companies must commit to removing a minimum of 2 thousand in cubic ft. or 40,000 lbs of recyclable materials, annually, which led us to the discussion that perhaps it is the 2,000 cubic feet or the 40,000 lbs of recyclable materials that are making this program inaccessible,” Mendiola said.
According to Mendiola, this commitment clause may have hindered companies from applying to the current QC recycling program.
Meanwhile, Ridgell says that time is running out and something has to be done since GSWA is already in the process of opening another cell in the Layon landfill to accommodate the island’s waste stream.