Sen. Clynt Ridgell has introduced a bill creating tax incentives for companies engaged in solid waste operations that can help reduce the waste stream into the Layon landfill.
Historically, the island has had to send its recyclables to other countries; however, in recent years, those countries such as China have either placed limits on the amount of recyclables they receive or no longer accept recyclables.
Current law offers tax incentives to businesses who ship recyclables off-island or any business who diverts 2,000 cubic feet or 40,000 pounds of material from the waste stream.
The current law is primarily focused on tax incentives for large recycling companies who were shipping metallic and other waste to other countries like China. Now that China has stopped accepting these items, Guam needs to come up with new ways to promote recycling and reduce the waste stream.
Bill 401-35 would remove the large weight requirement, opening the tax incentives to small businesses. With this bill, any business that can demonstrate that it is diverting materials from the waste stream through the recycling, remanufacturing, refurbishment, or transshipment of recyclable materials at an amount deemed appropriate by GEDA can qualify for tax incentives.
The goal is to reduce the trash on our island, promote environmental sustainability, and foster a circular economy.
Ridgell worked with GEDA to introduce this bill to encourage companies to come up with ways to reduce Guam’s waste stream. This keeps with Ridgell’s aim to “Make Guam Green Again.”
“Reducing the island’s waste stream will help preserve our beautiful natural environment, which is one of our greatest draws for tourism, our number one economic driver,” Ridgell said.
Further, reducing this waste stream will lessen the strain on Guam’s already overburdened landfill, which is anticipated to run out of space within the next two years. T
he government of Guam recently borrowed $30 million dollars on the bond market in order to fund the construction of a third cell at the Layon Landfill. By reducing the island’s waste stream, we reduce our reliance on a landfill that is costing the island millions of dollars, annually.
“Guam has a limited amount of land, and at the rate we are going, we will run out of room for our trash in short order. This bill is one way we can address this problem before it’s too late and is a step toward achieving our goals of zero waste.”