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 and a battery stewardship program.

Laws from the 2023 session

House Bill 1033: Evaluating compostable product usage in Washington

HB 1033 requires that we create a legislatively outlined advisory group and hire a facilitator to review and discuss issues associated with the sales, use, and end-of-life uses for compostable products with a particular emphasis on food related compostable products. The facilitator will deliver a final report with advisory group recommendations to the legislature on or before Sept. 15, 2024.

More information: 

Mary Harrington

House Bill 1085: Reducing plastic pollution

HB 1085 requires that we oversee new restrictions on single-use health and beauty products provided to guests by lodging establishments. This bill also restricts the installation of overwater plastic foam structures, such as floating boat docks, blocks, and floats. To support these restrictions, the bill requires the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to conduct a study of sustainable alternatives to these types of floating structures. Finally, this bill requires certain public buildings to install bottle filling stations to reduce waste from single-use plastic bottles. We will provide assistance to involved state agencies and lodging establishments by coordinating education, outreach, and compliance for the new requirements.

More information:

Lauren DiRe - Eastern Washington

Carolyn Bowie - Western Washington

Shannon Jones, Plastics Lead

Senate Bill 5144: Environmental management of batteries

SB 5144 requires battery producers to create a statewide collection system for portable used batteries by January 1, 2027. It phases in medium-sized batteries in 2029 and requires a study that will address the management of large format batteries and products with embedded batteries. The bill requires a battery stewardship organization to submit a plan to Ecology by July 1, 2026, describing how the program will operate, including: producers participating, transporters, processors, and disposal facilities to be used, how the program will be funded, performance goals, consumer outreach, and safety procedures. We will begin rule making for this program in late 2023. 

The bill also requires us to research the management of electric vehicle batteries and provide recommendations to the Legislature via a preliminary legislative report in November 2023, and a final report in April 2024.

More information:

Megan Warfield

Senate Bill 5187, Sec. 302(43) Spokane solid waste study

SB 5187 directs us to contract with a consultant to conduct a full emissions life cycle assessment for solid waste processed at the Spokane Waste to Energy Facility (WTEF) compared to solid waste processed at three landfills within the region that waste may be sent to if the WTEF were to cease operations. A report is due to the legislature by Dec. 31, 2023.

More information:

Marni Solheim

Senate Bill 5187, Sec. 302(20) Recycling, reuse, and source reduction target study and community input process

SB 5187 directs us to contract for a consultant to conduct a recycling, reuse, and source reduction performance target study. That study will analyze reduction actions for plastic components in packaging. The study will recommend highest achievable recycling, reuse, and source reduction performance rates for Washington State for four policy scenarios, including extended producer responsibility. The consultant will conduct a community input process designed to collect public opinion regarding the current recycling system and ways the current system could be improved. The consultant will submit the report to the appropriate committees of the house of representatives and the senate by Dec. 1, 2023.

More information:

Kara Steward