Enacting waste and recycling legislation

We are implementing several laws passed by the Washington Legislature in recent years that include programs to address plastic products and packaging, improve organic materials management and recycling programs, reduce food waste, and establish a paint stewardship program.

Laws from the 2022 session

House Bill 1799: Organic materials management

In 2022 the Legislature passed HB 1799 requiring diversion of organic materials away from landfill disposal to food rescue programs and organic materials management facilities. The bill affects a range of areas related to organics. The sections below represent a few of the areas covered by HB 1799.

Center for Sustainable Food Management

Sections 401 and 402 of  House Bill 1799 established the Washington Center for Sustainable Food Management (Food Center). The Food Center will be operational by Jan. 1, 2024, to help coordinate statewide food waste reduction. Recommended by the Use food Well Washington Plan, the Food Center may perform at least 13 different activities identified in HB 1799 to meet statewide goals to reduce food waste and increase recovery of edible food. 

More information:

Chery Sullivan

Compost procurement

Sections 701-703 of House Bill 1799 updates and implements  RCW 43.19A.120: Use of compost products in projects. By Jan. 1, 2023, cities and counties must adopt compost procurement ordinances. This section applies to a city or county with a population greater than 25,000, as measured by Washington’s Office of Financial Management (OFM), and to each city or county in which organic material collection services are provided under chapter 70A.205 RCW. Beginning December 31, 2024, and every even year after, jurisdictions must report tons of organic matter diverted from the landfill, and the amount and source of compost purchased.

More information:

Chery Sullivan

Local government solid waste funding study

Section 104 of House Bill 1799 requires us to contract a third-party consultant to study the adequacy of funding for local government solid waste management. The study will assess a variety of local government funding issues, including in relation to policy proposals introduced or passed since 2019. When scoping the study and reviewing the findings and recommendations, the law instructs us to work with the Washington Association of County Solid Waste Managers, the Association of Washington Cities, Washington Refuse and Recycling Association, and other stakeholders.  The completion date for the study is July 1, 2023.  

More information:

Janine Bogar

Product degradability labeling

In 2022, the Legislature amended chapter 70A.455 RCW to require us to enforce its requirements. The law provides criteria for labeling plastic bags, films, and food containers as compostable. Manufacturers of products labeled as compostable or biodegradable are required to submit requested information to Ecology. The law requires we begin enforcement July 1, 2024, based primarily on complaints filed with Ecology, cities, and counties. We must establish a means for the public to submit complaints. 

Beginning Jan. 1, 2024, producers of products labeled as compostable — including bags, film products, and food service products — must submit a declaration of compliance to us. A declaration must also be submitted prior to the introduction into Washington of any new compostable product or compostable product with a materially changed method of compliance that includes compostability labeling.

More information:

Tina Schaefer

Senate Bill 5693 budget proviso: Consumer packaging and paper products study, section 302(59)

We will contract for a study on consumer packaging and paper products sold or supplied in Washington. The study will provide an assessment and estimate the amount and types of consumer packaging and paper products sold or supplied in and into the state, and estimate the recycling rates for these materials through existing recycling programs and activities.

The study will also provide recommendations on legislative actions to address items included in the list of problematic and unnecessary materials identified for elimination by the United States Plastic Pact. The contractor must develop these recommendations with consideration for the plastic packaging waste recommendations submitted to the Washington Legislature in 2020 (Ecology publication 20-07-028).

More information:

Kara Steward