SWANA Asks FEMA to Reimburse Municipal and Private Solid Waste Service Providers for Unpaid Services During COVID-19 Pandemic


SWANA letter broadens request for FEMA funding and reinforces essential work of solid waste and recycling industry

Silver Spring, MD – The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) sent a letter today urging FEMA to establish a system to compensate the public and private sector solid waste and recycling industry for providing essential collection and disposal services that may otherwise go unfunded through this COVID-19 pandemic. Solid waste management was identified as an essential critical infrastructure workforce in the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency’s (CISA) March 19, 2020 memo, and has been listed as essential in every emergency order issued at the state level in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

SWANA’s letter expands on a previous request to cover both municipal providers and the private sector. With residential collection frequently provided by municipal providers, and residential volumes increasing, this request is particularly timely. SWANA represents individuals employed at both municipal sanitation departments and private companies throughout the United States.

“The SWANA letter asks FEMA to protect both municipal and private sector organizations that provide essential services,” said Executive Director and CEO David Biderman. “Since both the public and private sectors collect and manage solid waste and recyclables, SWANA’s letter asserts that all sanitation departments, haulers, and post-collection companies providing services during the COVID-19 pandemic without being paid for them should be eligible for reimbursement.”

SWANA’s letter requests that “FEMA ensure funding is made available across the country to municipalities and their private sector partners to cover all of the costs incurred to provide these essential services during this national emergency. It is imperative that solid waste management continue uninterrupted at this critical time. FEMA can help protect public health and safety by committing to cover the costs of essential services provided that aren’t paid by the service recipients (e.g., customer bad debts).”

Additional guidance for the waste industry concerning the Coronavirus pandemic is available on SWANA’s website at


The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) is an organization of more than 10,000 public and private sector professionals committed to advancing from solid waste management to resource management through their shared emphasis on education, advocacy and research. For more than 60 years, SWANA has been the leading association in the solid waste management field. SWANA serves industry professionals through technical conferences, certifications, publications and a large offering of technical training courses.

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