Heather Trim, of Zero Waste Washington, says this regarding this year’s Washington State legislative actions: “What a session!”
The following was transcribed or paraphrased (to fit this MMC blog entry) from the June 2021 issue of the quarterly newsletter published by Zero Waste Washington.
The Reducing Plastic Pollution and Improving Recycling (SB 5022) bill, which was sponsored by Senator Mona Das and championed by Representative Liz Berry, was signed into law on 17 May 2021 by Governor Jay Inslee. This bill does the following:
1. Expands the Polystyrene Ban to include food service packaging, recreational coolers, and packaging peanuts.
2 Single-use utensils, straws, condiment packages, cold beverage lids provided by merchant’s On-Request Only by customers.
3. Removes the Logo Requirement (the logo was confusing) so as to promote more efficient recycling.
4. Minimum Recycled Content established for containers for beverage, personal care products, and cleaning product containers, and for trash bags.
SB 5022 resulted from the information learned by a study done on how plastic waste affects us in Washington State. As explained in the Zero Waste Washington newsletter: “SB5022 addressed three of the 10 recommendations set forth in a terrific plastics study produced by Cascadia Consulting for Ecology. This study was required by a key bill passed in 2019, SB5397, sponsored by Senator Christine Rolfes. This year’s bill and the Cascadia study all lead up to an omnibus bill to be introduced in 2022 to truly revamp our recycling system and get us to significant waste reduction and real recycling. Stay tuned!”
Other legislative successes this year pertaining to zero waste initiatives, as per the newsletter, details can be viewed at https://zerowastewashington.org/legislative-work/):
– Wheat straw for bags (HB 1145) bill
allows for wheat straw to replace part of the required recycled content in paper bags. The effort to pass this bill was led by Representative Skylar Rude from Southern Washington.
– Testing of lead in drinking water in schools (HB 1139) bill
was championed by Representative Gerry Pollet.
– Adjustment of the Drug-Take Back law (HB 2021) bill
was sponsored by Representative Strom Peterson; it improves on the 2018 Drug-Take Back law.
– Industrial Symbiosis (SB 5345) bill
was championed by Senator Brown and will look at setting up an industrial waste coordination program.
A big project by Zero Waste Washington is tackling methane – a super emitter – by reducing organic waste at our landfills. Details can be seen in the newsletter—and the details of the details can be viewed in their report at or by going to https://zerowastewashington.org/publications/#ReportsStudies
Other wonderful environmental actions occurring in Washington State, as reported in the Zero Waste Washington newsletter are
– Mapping Take it or Leave It places (where people can drop off or pick up reusable items).
– Mapping Repair places (where people can take things to be repaired rather than dumping them at the landfill).
— source: June 2021 Zero Waste Washington quarterly newsletter https://zerowastewashington.org/newsletters/2nd-quarter-june-2021-enewsletter/#legislative