Waste reduction programs

Waste reduction requires efforts at all stages of a material's or product's lifecyle, not just at the end.

Food and organic waste

Organic materials are valuable resources, and include food waste, yard trimmings, and manure. Organic materials are the largest contributor to Washington’s waste disposal stream, as reported in the 2020-2021 Waste Characterization Study. More than 1.3 million tons of organic waste were disposed in landfills in 2021, 25 percent of the total waste disposed in Washington.

Food waste is the largest component of organic materials, at 61 percent. In 2021, Washington generated 732,781 tons of food waste, 14 percent of the total waste stream. This includes residential, commercial, and self-hauled garbage. 

Decreasing food waste helps meet Washington’s 2030 food waste reduction and climate goals

Goal 1: Reduce food waste by 50 percent
Goal 2: Reduce at least half of edible food waste

The Use Food Well Washington Plan includes 30 recommendations to meet Washington’s food waste reduction goals. These recommendations span across the food system, and address food waste through the strategies of prevention, rescue, and recovery.

Learn more:


The state laws on plastics are transitioning Washington away from widespread use of disposable, single-use plastics, and toward further integration of recycled, recyclable, and reusable plastics.

To help manage plastic problems, we focus on several issues involving restrictions to single-use plastics common in day-to-day life. To curb use of more virgin plastic in manufacturing, and bolster recycling markets, Washington law also requires many producers use recycled plastic.

Sale is restricted also for the persistent pollutant expanded polystyrene (sometimes called Styrofoam™).