Environment
Waste Diversion

We all know the waste diversion mantra—reduce, reuse, recycle. Much has changed over the last 40 plus years as the characteristics of the solid waste we all produce as well as disposal and diversion methods have changed. While managing solid waste is a smaller percentage of the contributions to climate change impacts, there are so many actions that citizens can take individually. But it’s not just about individual responsibility, but also getting companies to take responsibility for the waste their products create. Incentivizing plastic waste reduction and better recycling outcomes will lead to creating a circular economy to divert waste from disposal.


Issue Team Chair: Ann Murphy, Waste Diversion Issue Chair, amurphy@lwvwa.org
  DOWNLOAD the Waste Diversion Issue Paper
Interested in getting involved with this topic? Contact Ann Murphy


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Updates

Legislation


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Overview of the 2024 Legislative Session

The 2024 Legislative Session will build on the momentum of the bills passed in 2023 (listed in Issue Paper). Bills will focus on implementing policies to divert waste from disposal through reuse/repair, reduction, and recycling/composting, and then to safely and sustainably manage the remainder.

In 2023, the Washington State Legislature directed the Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology), via the Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 5187, Section 302 (20), to contract for a study to (1) develop recycling, reuse, and source reduction performance target rates for consumer packaging and paper materials; and (2) conduct a community input process to gather input from Washington residents about their views and opinions on the state's recycling system. This study addresses consumer packaging material, and specifically, rigid and flexible plastic, paper, aluminum, steel, and glass. Ecology awarded this contract to a team led by Eunomia Research & Consulting, Inc. This report was presented to the House Environment and Energy Committee and is designed to provide supporting information for the RE/WRAP bill in 2024. Read the full report here.

Bills that the League continues to support are listed below – and some will have changes as described. We are anticipating bills that will include the recycling of electric vehicle batteries, recycling of wind turbines, composting bill to keep organics out of landfills, and a deposit return system (DRS) for beverage containers. As these bills are filled, reviewed, and receive a number, the below list will be updated.


Updates
If there is a major update on a bill, action chairs may want to write up a report detailing changes or summarizing debate in committee.


2024 Waste Diversion Legislation

Priority Bills

Bills in green are supported. Bills in red are opposed by the League. Bills in black the League is watching.

HB 2049/SB 6005 Improving Washington's solid waste management outcomes. Re-WRAP Act. Legislation on extended producer responsibility (EPR), recycling, and waste reduction has resurface in the 2024 session with a reworked Re-WRAP Act —Washington Recycling and Packaging Act. EPR is already happening in many places around the world, and in the last three years, four states (Maine, Oregon, California, Colorado) have passed similar bills. Nine more states are considering such legislation. Bill supporters estimate that enacting The Re-WRAP Act will put $104 million back into our economy on an annual basis by saving resources, improving recycling, and reducing environmental impacts. Click here for resources about Extended Producer Responsibility and multiple factsheets. This comprehensive bill is being championed by Rep. Liz Berry

Other Bills
Bills in green are supported. Bills in red are opposed by the League. Bills in black the League is watching.

HB 1185 Reducing environmental impacts associated with lighting products. Phases out the sale of most mercury-containing lights and extends/expands the product stewardship program for the same lights. Has an extended producer responsibility element in that the producers of lights in the stewardship program will be required to finance the operations of the program (eliminating the handling fee currently applied to retail sales). Championed by Rep. Hackney

HB 1933/SB 6276 Right to Repair—Promoting the fair servicing and repair of consumer products. This bill has expanded from the original requirement of digital electronic product manufacturers, such as Apple and Microsoft, to make repair information, parts and tools available to independent repair businesses and owners to make repairs. The bill now includes all the consumer products that have already passed in another state. There is a huge amount of e-waste! For example, on average, Washington disposes of 8,700 phones every day. This bill would make it possible for small businesses to repair these items. Extending the life of computers, tablets and cellphones, farm equipment, wheelchairs, and appliances will decrease the need for more resources, energy and transportation to manufacture new products – therefore also decreasing greenhouse gas. This bill will lower costs for consumers, get used computers, tablets and cell phones into the hands of people who need them, and help overcome digital inequities in Washington. This way, people will keep using their items instead of tossing them!

HB 1422 Clarifying that certain reusable packing materials are exempt from sales and use tax. This bill excludes from sales and use tax the renting or leasing of packing materials under a packing material sharing and reuse program (i.e., a system that pools packing materials among multiple persons for reuse). Packing materials includes boxes, crates, pallets, bottles, cans, bags, drums, cartons, wrapping papers, cellophane, twines, gummed tapes, wire, bands, excelsior, wastepaper, and all other materials in which personal property may be contained or protected within a container. Sponsored by Representative Springer,

HB 1551/SB 5605 Reducing lead in cookware.This bill bans, beginning January 1, 2025, the sale of cookware or cookware component containing lead or lead compounds at a level of more than five parts per million in or into Washington. Led by Representative Pollet and Senator Robinson.

HB 1900 Implementing strategies to achieve higher recycling rates within Washington's existing solid waste management system. Offered as an alternative to the Re-Wrap Act that does not have the EPR component. Championed by Rep Fey.

HB 2068/SB 5965Concerning the environmental impacts of fashion.Fashion retail sellers or fashion manufacturers with annual worldwide gross income greater than $100,000,000 must disclose its environmental due diligence policies, processes, and outcomes, including significant real or potential adverse environmental impacts and then disclose targets for prevention and improvement. Championed by Rep. Mena and Senator Nguyen.

HB 2070/SB 5990 Integrating environmental justice considerations into certain project decisions. The Cumulative Risk Burden of Pollution Act (CURB) will require monitoring of pollutants that affect health but are not currently addressed; Specify communities that have been disproportionately harmed by pollution for specific protections; Require the Department of Ecology to deny new permit applications that add cumulative pollution effects and work with applicants seeking permit renewals that add cumulative pollution effects, with the goal to reduce pollution over time; Elevate voices of community members through frontline community participation in the permit evaluations process. Championed by Rep Mena and Sen Lovelett

HB 2144 Providing for a deposit return program for qualifying beverage containers to be implemented by a distributor responsibility organization. Will establish a Deposit Return System for Qualifying beverage container (any separate, sealed glass, metal, or plastic bottle or can, that contains any beverage intended for human consumption, and in a quantity of greater than four ounces and less than or equal to one gallon. Excludes dairy and baby formula containers. Sponsored by Rep Stonier

HB 2207 Providing tools designed to reduce the impacts of unlawful solid waste dumping. This bill collects fines from illegal dumping and taxes from the state business litter tax and calls it the Waste Reduction Recycling and Litter Control account.

HB 2301/SB 6180 Improving the outcomes associated with waste material management systems, including products affecting organic material management systems.This bill addresses composting and other management of organic (yard and food waste) in order to divert the material from the landfill and avoid methane gas generation. Includes reduction methods (standardizing system of food expiration date labeling; prohibiting plastic product stickers), and amending building code to support management of organic materials  Championed by Representative Beth Doglio.

HB 2401 Providing for the responsible management of appliances containing harmful gases and other materials. Creates a producer responsibility program for appliances. Championed by Rep Beth Doglio.

SB 6163 Concerning biosolids. Ecology must establish pollutant limits for PFAS chemicals in biosolids, based on the results of the USEPA’s risk assessment for PFAS chemicals in biosolids. Ecology must ensure that biosolids are tested for PFAS chemicals for which this pollutant limit has been established. And land application of biosolids that do not comply with the PFAS chemical pollutant limit would be prohibited. Led by J. Wilson

SB 5376 Allowing the sale of cannabis waste. This bill would allow sale of cannabis if the waste would not be designated as dangerous or hazardous waste. Currently, this organic waste is often landfilled. Championed by Sen. Stanford

SB 5579 Allows the Department of Ecology to elect to refrain from or cease administering or enforcing a requirement related to the use of hydrofluorocarbons and other ozone-depleting substance substitutes. This applies if the Department of Ecology determines that supply chain problems or other similar disruptions threaten to impair businesses or consumers in Washington, and that suspending enforcement of a requirement would mitigate the problem.


How To Be Involved

  • If you are interested in a particular bill, use the links above to go to the webpage for that bill. These pages include staff summaries and reports including who testified PRO versus CON on the bill. There is also information about how to access videos of hearings that have been held.
  • If you do nothing else, please scan the LWVWA Legislative Action Newsletter each week (it's distributed each Sunday during the legislative session) and respond to the Action Alerts .
  • If you have more time and are interested in a particular topic, we always appreciate and can use your assessments of bills, law implementation, and future concerns. For Forests topics send assessments of a few paragraphs to a few pages and include the sources of the facts you rely on. Send them to Ann Murphy, Waste Diversion Issue Chair.
  • Join the LWVWA Environment Action group by emailing Ann Murphy.

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