Solar and Recycling

The second week of the SC General Assembly starts today so it’s time for a few more issues from the South Carolina Small Business Chamber’s (SCSBCC) legislative agenda.
SCSBCC has a long history of supporting renewable energy and conservation.   It’s safe to say that environmental groups have no bigger ally in the general business community than SCSBCC. 
This year we are once again supporting House Bill 3346 that establishes a 35% tax state credit for the installation of solar energy equipment on commercial buildings.  Promoting solar business in South Carolina to create a vibrant industry and many new small business jobs as in North Carolina requires similar tax credits as in our neighboring state. 
In addition to new jobs, a growing solar industry will reduce the need for construction of expensive new energy producing plants and also reduce carbon emissions that contribute to climate change that threatens our small-business tourism and outdoor recreation industries. 
The SCSBCC also supports efforts to recycle in order to conserve natural resources and to promote the development and growth of new small businesses.  However, Senate Bill 461 mandates that bars and restaurants absorb the cost of recycling all bottles and cans so that upstream recycling businesses can use these resources to make products and money. 
But these bottles and cans are part of the recycling supply chain.  They are the paid-for assets of the bars and restaurants.  Consequently, bars and restaurants should not only be kept whole in the recycling effort but receive compensation based on the value of their resources to the rest of the industry. 
And that’s the problem with S.461.  It would mandate restaurants and bars incur recycling costs with only token and far insufficient compensation—a mandate that even some in the recycling business aren’t comfortable.  The bill has no real incentives but it sure has a big punishment—threatening to strip a business of its license to operate if it does not comply. 
S.461 can be amended to give the proper positive encouragement to businesses to recycle.  But if it remains all stick and no carrot, it must be opposed as irresponsible to the business community.   
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