Support Small Business Through Oahu Bill 36

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scrap carsSmall businesses form the backbone of our economy, and it is incumbent upon our government leaders to remove unnecessary barriers for small businesses in Hawaii to create and grow jobs.

This is why it is so important for Mayor Peter Carlisle to sign into law Bill 36, which takes a balanced approach to gradually reducing and eventually ending the discount on fees that recyclers pay to deliver leftover, non-recyclable material (shredder residue) to the Waimanalo Gulch Landfill.


There is a misperception that the tipping fee incentive program benefits a single, large company. In fact, the tipping fee discount has played a significant role in the growth of many local small businesses that generate revenues by selling metal to Schnitzer Steel and other recyclers. Other Honolulu-based small companies, like electrical contractors, for example, depend on the large recyclers for their business. It is clear that the recycling incentive program, established in 1991 to encourage the growth of the recycling industry, has been successful.

Earlier this year, the city eliminated the incentive program as a short-term move to help balance the budget. However, this move will not lead to more revenues from the large recyclers, and it could have very negative consequences for a number of Honolulu’s local businesses.

With no tipping fee discount in place, recyclers will either pass the costs on to those who deliver metal to them or refuse to take non-recyclable material altogether, reducing the amount of shredder residue they send to the landfill. Either way, if the recycling incentive program is not restored, local small businesses will suffer the biggest hit, and recycling could decrease to pre-1991 levels. Recycling is a volatile business, which is why the city’s recycling incentive program is good policy.

A solution is resting on the Mayor’s desk. The City Council recently passed Bill 36, which would revive the program at gradually reduced levels long enough for the large recyclers to make adjustments to their operations and minimize impacts to our local small businesses. This approach is good public policy, and it is now up to Mayor Carlisle to support it and the small businesses that rely on a viable recycling market to provide for their families.

As a Small Disabled Veteran Business I appreciate your support of this.  We need to protect our environment and our financial capabilities very definitely.  We also need to generate jobs.  Washington DC simply put, has very little sense of urgency, especially when their payrolls are in place….then they tend to forget the rest of the nation has to eat, pay debts and live.

Jerry Whitehead is the President of Tower Engineering Hawaii, Ltd





  1. The main recipient of the financial benefits of Bill 36 is not a “small business” by any stretch of the imagination.

    Schnitzer Steel has and will receive the lions share (90%+) of any taxpayer funded subsidy. They have captured around $19 million since 1998 and $1.9 million last year alone. Is Schitzer a small business?

    Not even close, it is a huge international corporation with 57 operating facilities located in 14 states, Puerto Rico and Western Canada. It reported second quarter fiscal 2011 revenues of $722 million, an increase of 28% from the second quarter of fiscal year 2010. This is not a small business.

    An actual small business that is the second largest recipient of this tax money ($70,000 last year) opposes Bill 36. James Nutter, owner of Island Recycling testified, “If this bill passes, my company will make $50,000.
    But I’m in opposition of this bill because it’s morally, ethically wrong.” 

    Mayor, please veto this theft of tax money, and resist the propaganda from the corporate lobbyists, lawyers and their “small business” surrogate who is most likely just another paid sub-contractor.

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