In 2017, the Zero Waste Washington board and staff, with input from our membership base, came together to identify our focus areas and strategic directions for the next few years. We continue building from the momentum we’ve already created and we are excited to delve into new areas.

Zero Waste Washington works to…

Promote Producer Responsibility

We promote producer responsibility to address difficult to handle wastes. Producer responsibility is an approach in which manufacturers are responsible for the products they make from cradle-to-cradle, including providing for and paying for appropriate recycling or disposal. We seek improvements in existing programs for electronic waste, mercury light bulbs and tires, access to secure medicine return for all Washington residents, and new programs for products such as paint, photovoltaic modules (i.e., solar panels), mattresses and more.

Reduce Plastics Pollution

We work to reduce plastics pollution in our waterways and compost, including microplastics. We seek to pass bans of one-use plastic bags and Styrofoam food serviceware in more jurisdictions across the state and advocate for reduction or redesign of other plastics, including microfibers (fleece), which create microplastics in our waterways. We also seek reductions of contamination of compost such as fruit/veggie stickers, plastic-lined coffee cups and tea bags.

Promote a Culture of Reuse, Repair, Repurpose and Sharing

We promote a culture of reuse, repair, repurpose and sharing at the community level so that there will be a norm shift that reduces the need to purchase products in the first place and provides access for all. We seek to promote more sharing libraries and networks for expensive, bulky or infrequently used items (e.g., tools, party wares, camping gear), repair utilization, and reuse opportunities such as salvage stores and thrift shops.

Get Toxic Chemicals out of Products

We work to get toxic chemicals out of our products, especially those that cause contamination at end of use. While we seek to promote a circular economy in which products can be re-circulated into useful items again and again, toxic chemicals must be off-ramped for the sake of human and environmental health. For example, Teflon chemicals - Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) - in food serviceware contaminates compost. Decades of use of flame retardants in sofas has created a huge backlog of products which will require careful disposal.

Promote the Redesign of Products

We promote the redesign of products, especially packaging, as a significant waste prevention measure. Mixed packaging (plastics and papers bonded together) cannot be recycled and excess packaging generates nuisance waste. Products designed with a cradle-to-cradle or circular economy approach conserves resources. Innovative use of bio-materials reduces toxicity and allows for cleaner composting.

Help Drive the Market and Reduce Contamination in the Recycling/Compost Streams

We work to help drive the market for recyclable and compostable feedstocks and approaches that will reduce contamination in the recycling and composting streams. Major new facilities, such as a regional plastics recovery facility (PRF) and secondary materials recovery facilities (MRFs), are needed to clean up our recycling streams so that the outputs will be more marketable. Current curbside and facility practices create “dirty” streams. We need to ensure quality recycling and composting processes and that products are actually recycled.

Promote innovation!

We promote innovation, especially for difficult items where policy or new techniques are needed. Examples include items that make up significant volumes in the landfill such as diapers, kitty litter, pet waste, and “flexible” packaging.

 

Zero Waste Washington does our work in partnership with others and seeks to address equity and social justice, climate change, and support for local economies in all program areas.