2022 Organics Management Law
In 2022, Washington’s Legislature passed House Bill 1799 (HB 1799) requiring diversion of organic materials away from landfill disposal and towards food rescue programs and organics management facilities.
These actions will help Washington achieve its 2030 goal to cut landfill-disposed organic material by 75%, compared to 2015. By 2025, the amount of edible food wasted in landfill disposal must be reduced by 20%. That’s about 78,000 tons of good food rescued for human consumption. Other organic materials will be processed at composting facilities, anaerobic digesters, and used for vermiculture and emerging technologies.
Diverting organics from the landfill
Washington’s new organics management law requires state and local governments, businesses, and other organizations to reduce the amount of organic materials disposed in landfills and increase the demand for processed organic materials like compost. The legislation also calls for an increase in edible food recovery and amends many laws affecting organics management.
The following summary is not inclusive of all parts, dates, or requirements of HB 1799.
Local government solid waste funding study
Section 104: This section 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 those related 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 is July 1, 2023.
Requirements for organics management by businesses
Section 201: This section establishes a phased approach to collect source-separated organics from businesses. By July 1, 2023, we must determine which counties and cities with solid waste management plans already offer organics collection to businesses and whether or not their organics management facilities have the capacity to accept more material. The report generated will be updated annually and help local jurisdictions determine if they are required to offer organics collection service to businesses. While some exemptions will apply, beginning Jan. 1, 2024, businesses must arrange for organics collection that follows a phased-in approach.
Washington Center for Sustainable Food Management (Food Center)
Section 402: We will establish the Food Center by Jan. 1, 2024, to help coordinate statewide food waste reduction. Recommended by the Use food Well Washington Plan, the Food Center will work to meet statewide food waste and recovery goals.
Voluntary food donation tracking
Sections 403 and 404: We must coordinate with the Washington Department of Agriculture to establish compatible and voluntary reporting protocols to track food donations, which support the goals of the Food Center.
Model ordinances to discourage organic material disposal in landfills
Section 405: By Jan. 1, 2025, we must develop model ordinances that address solid waste collection and disposal. The ordinances must provide disincentives for disposing organic materials in landfills and be created under the provisions of chapter 43.21C RCW, State environmental policy. Jurisdictions that choose to adopt a model ordinance will not be required to review the ordinance further under chapter 43.21C RCW.
County comprehensive and local jurisdiction solid waste management planning
Sections 103, 601, 602, 603: After July 1, 2024, new and updated local comprehensive solid waste management plans must address the new requirement to provide organic materials collection and management to residential and nonresidential customers. This includes identifying priority areas to locate new organic management facilities. After Jan. 1, 2027, new and updated comprehensive plans must be consistent with requirements of Section 102.
After Jan. 1, 2025, county comprehensive plans must allow siting of organics management facilities to provide necessary capacity for organics collection.
Compost procurement ordinances
Part 7 updates chapter 43.19A RCW use of compost products in public projects and requires a reporting system to document compost purchases. 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; and to each city or county in which organic material collection services are provided under chapter 70A.205 RCW. Beginning Dec. 31, 2024, jurisdictions must report to Ecology total tons of organic matter they diverted from the landfill, including the amount of compost purchased from specific sources.
Degradable products labeling requirements
Part 8 amends several sections in chapter 70A.455 RCW, Plastic product degradability. Beginning Jan. 1, 2024, producers of products sold in Washington and labeled as compostable, including bags, film products, and food service products, must submit a declaration of compliance. Compliance includes using appropriate labels and colors on compostable products.
All cities and counties in Washington, as well as Ecology, have the authority to investigate complaints and enforce violations. We must develop a forum for complaints and will collaborate with cities and counties to provide technical assistance to retailers, consumers, and producers. We must begin enforcing this law by July 1, 2024.
This law authorizes us to write rules to implement sections 102, 201, 402, and 810; however, at this time we do not believe rules will be required for implementation.
If by 2030 the state organics management goals identified in HB 1799 are not achieved, we may adopt rules necessary to meet those goals.