Zero Waste Washington History

Zero Waste Washington has been the catalyst for groundbreaking waste prevention and recycling programs and policies in Washington State for over 25 years.  In the wake of an unsuccessful campaign for a “bottle deposit” bill in 1979, a number of concerned citizens saw the need for a statewide group to advocate on behalf of the public interest on solid and hazardous waste issues.  They established Washington Citizens for Recycling (WCFR) in December 1979 to work extensively on legislation.  In 1982, Washington Citizen’s Recycling Foundation was founded as a 501(c)3 companion group.

In 1990, WCFR became dormant and the 501(c)3 organization, renamed Washington Citizens for Recycling Foundation, continued promoting waste prevention and recycling in Washington.  Our evolving mission led to the new name of Washington Citizens for Resource Conservation in 1995 and to Zero Waste Washington in 2010.  

Here are some highlights of Zero Waste Washington’s work.

2010:  Supported successful passage of mercury-containing lighting bill, which requires producers to pay to recycle fluorescent lights from residents.

2009:  First year of E-Cycle Washington program.  Producers collected over 38 million pounds of computers, monitors and TVs for recycling.

2009:  Developed first-of-its kind information on reducing waste medicines.

2009:  Evaluated the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation’s in store program for collecting and recycling rechargeable batteries and cell phones.

2008:  Participated on the Beyond Waste working group of Washington’s Climate Advisory Team to recommend solid waste policies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

2007:  Supported successful bill requiring vendors who sell beverages at outdoor sports facilities to provide recycling for bottles and cans.  

2006-2008:  Collaborated with a diverse coalition on a pilot program to securely take back unwanted household medicines.

2006:  Collaborated on successful passage of the electronics bill requiring producers to set up and pay for recycling of computers and TVs from residents, schools, and small businesses.

2005-2009:  Worked with a number of counties to initiate retail “Take It Back Networks” for electronics and fluorescent lights.

2004:  Successfully advocated for a “study” bill requiring Department of Ecology to make recommendations on recycling obsolete computers and TVs.

2003-06:  Distributed our “Citizen’s Guide to Producer Responsibility” to over 11,000 citizens, elected officials, and others.

2003:  Supported Seattle’s 60% recycling goal and activities to achieve that goal, including bans on certain recyclables in the garbage.

2001-04:  Advocated for a progressive Beyond Waste Plan for Washington State.  

2000:  Co-sponsored a regional conference on producer responsibility.

1998:  Provided leadership for the first America Recycles Day in Washington, which resulted in dozens of events promoting recycling to thousands of people.

1993-95:  Highlighted the lack of plastics recycling through the “Take the Wrap” campaign and the “Plagued by Plastic Packaging” consumer guide.

1993-95:  Organized the “Reach for Unbleached” paper campaign, impacting procurement policies regionally and nationally.  

1990-94:  Facilitated a used motor oil collection program at over thirty sites in western Washington and served as a catalyst for an additional 60 sites statewide.  

1992-93:  Provided recycling and environmental information to the public at the Northwest Folklife Festival.

1991:  Successfully advocated for law requiring government agencies to use recycled materials and creating the Clean Washington Center to further develop markets for recycled products.

1990:  Released “Packaging Awards and Booby Prizes from an Environmental Point of View” that received extensive national coverage and sparked broad awareness of excess packaging as a concern.

1986-87:  Helped prevent the siting of solid waste incinerators in Seattle and King County.

1983:  First Recyclathon.  For a number of years, annual recyclathons aided in cleaning up litter in Seattle, raising money for WCFR, and bringing media attention to the issues of litter and recycling.

1983:  Participated in the passage of hazardous waste management priority legislation, which established hazardous waste reduction and recycling as the highest priority.

1983:  Successfully lobbied for passage of the oil recycling bill.

1982:  Helped draft and successfully lobbied for a ban on detachable metal pull-tabs on beverage containers in Washington State.

1981-89:  Advocated for a solid waste system that encourages waste reduction and recycling as top priorities. Culminated in the passage of the 1989 Waste Not Washington Act which made curbside recycling a widespread reality in Washington.

Last Updated (Tuesday, 10 August 2010 17:33)