Zero Waste Washington 2016 Year in Review

pill bottleCounties Leading the Way to Safe Medicine Take-Back

Zero Waste Washington’s biggest policy success this year was in Snohomish County where we advocated for passage of a strong medicine take-back ordinance, based on King County’s 2013 ordinance. This cutting edge policy requires drug manufacturers to provide and pay for a convenient take-back program for unwanted over-the-counter and prescription medicines. Pierce and Kitsap Counties are now considering similar policies and Zero Waste Washington is urging their passage. Medicines disposed in a secure take-back program will not be abused, will not contribute to an accidental poisoning, and will not pollute our waterways.

State Policies – It Takes Persistence

In the 2016 legislative session, Zero Waste Washington advocated for paint stewardship legislation to recycle leftover latex paint and to properly dispose of toxic oil-based paint and for a solar energy bill that included a provision for solar panel recycling. While these bills did not pass, our work builds momentum for future success. In 2016, it was also critical to hold the line against bills to weaken environmental laws. For example, we successfully collaborated to oppose a harmful bill that would have allowed detachable lids on aluminum beer cans, resulting in more litter and less recycling of valuable aluminum.

rebecca solverson - TTL steering committeeTacoma Tool Library a Community Success

Sharing our “stuff” – especially things we need only occasionally – is a great way to decrease waste and build community connections! With community organizing and support from Zero Waste Washington, a group of dedicated and skilled residents opened the Tacoma Tool Library to the public in March 2016. This library provides access to tools and workshops at little to no cost, preventing waste and providing resource access to low-income people. In its first six months, the Tacoma Tool Library’s 274 members completed 896 loans! In 2017, we are excited to grow our sharing program by piloting innovative online sharing networks throughout different communities.  Stay tuned!

Seattle’s Plastic Bag Ban

Zero Waste Washington supported an update to Seattle’s Plastic Bag Ban which made permanent Seattle’s five-cent charge for recyclable paper shopping bags and included a first-in-the-nation ban on the use of misleading green- and brown-tinted non-compostable plastic bags. This will help keep plastic bags out of the compost.

Working to Optimize Commingled Curbside Recycling

This year, the Washington State Department of Ecology led a workgroup to assess commingled residential collection systems for recyclables in seven counties in northwest Washington. Zero Waste Washington was at the table to discuss issues and forward-thinking approaches. After many meetings, presentations, research, and dialogue, the report Optimizing the Commingled Residential Curbside Recycling Systems in Northwest Washington was recently released and includes key recommendations for important improvements. Implementation subgroups are forming to tackle key areas and Zero Waste Washington will stay involved.

altIt was a Year of Transition!

Finally, 2016 has been a year of exciting transitions for Zero Waste Washington. When our long-term program director, Suellen Mele, announced plans to leave the organization, the Board implemented a transition plan to sustain our organizational values and strategic directions – zero waste communities, and policy and producer responsibility, and preventing waste – and encourage new energy and growth. Zero Waste Washington’s Board and Staff are now very pleased to welcome Heather Trim as our executive director. We look forward to this next chapter for Zero Waste Washington!

Zero Waste Washington 2016 Year in Review

 

Counties Leading the Way to Safe Medicine Take-Back

iStock_000007982994Medium-cropZero Waste Washington’s biggest policy success this year was in Snohomish County where we advocated for passage of a strong medicine take-back ordinance, based on King County’s 2013 ordinance. This cutting edge policy requires drug manufacturers to provide and pay for a convenient take-back program for unwanted over-the-counter and prescription medicines. Pierce and Kitsap Counties are now considering similar policies and Zero Waste Washington is urging their passage. Medicines disposed in a secure take-back program will not be abused, will not contribute to an accidental poisoning, and will not pollute our waterways.

 

State Policies – It Takes Persistence

In the 2016 legislative session, Zero Waste Washington advocated for paint stewardship legislation to recycle leftover latex paint and to properly dispose of toxic oil-based paint and for a solar energy bill that included a provision for solar panel recycling. While these bills did not pass, our work builds momentum for future success. In 2016, it was also critical to hold the line against bills to weaken environmental laws. For example, we successfully collaborated to oppose a harmful bill that would have allowed detachable lids on aluminum beer cans, resulting in more litter and less recycling of valuable aluminum.

 

Tacoma Tool Library a Community Success

Sharing our “stuff” – especially things we need only occasionally – is a great way to decrease waste and build community connections! With community organizing and support from Zero Waste Washington, a group of dedicated and skilled residents opened the Tacoma Tool Library to the public in March 2016. This library provides access to tools and workshops at little to no cost, preventing waste and providing resource access to low-income people. In its first six months, the Tacoma Tool Library’s 274 members completed 896 loans! In 2017, we are excited to grow our sharing program by piloting innovative online sharing networks throughout different communities.  Stay tuned!

 

Seattle’s Plastic Bag Ban

Zero Waste Washington supported an update to Seattle’s Plastic Bag Ban which made permanent Seattle’s five-cent charge for recyclable paper shopping bags and included a first-in-the-nation ban on the use of misleading green- and brown-tinted non-compostable plastic bags. This will help keep plastic bags out of the compost.

 

Working to Optimize Commingled Curbside Recycling

This year, the Washington State Department of Ecology led a workgroup to assess commingled residential collection systems for recyclables in seven counties in northwest Washington. Zero Waste Washington was at the table to discuss issues and forward-thinking approaches. After many meetings, presentations, research, and dialogue, the report Optimizing the Commingled Residential Curbside Recycling Systems in Northwest Washington was recently released and includes key recommendations for important improvements. Implementation subgroups are forming to tackle key areas and Zero Waste Washington will stay involved.

 

It was a Year of Transition!

Finally, 2016 has been a year of exciting transitions for Zero Waste Washington. When our long-term program director, Suellen Mele, announced plans to leave the organization, the Board implemented a transition plan to sustain our organizational values and strategic directions – zero waste communities, and policy and producer responsibility, and preventing waste – and encourage new energy and growth. Zero Waste Washington’s Board and Staff are now very pleased to welcome Heather Trim as our executive director. We look forward to this next chapter for Zero Waste Washington!

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