Zero Waste Washington Quarterly Newsletter:  Winter – Help needed for Medicine Return, Survey and more

In this issue:

We need your help: Secure Medicine Return for the whole state!

Zero Waste Washington Survey: We want your opinion.

Other Legislative Updates.

The Tacoma Tool Library had a fantastic first year!

We need your help: Secure Medicine Return for the whole state!

Zero Waste Washington’s #1 priority at the state legislature this year is SHB 1047 - the Secure Drug Take-back bill -  which is championed by Representative Strom Peterson.  We have put significant resources into support of this bill and we are pleased to let you know that it passed out of the House Health Care Committee last Wednesday.

We need your help, especially if you live in Seattle and east King County.  The next step for SHB 1047 is the House Appropriations Committee, which is hearing the bill this week.  If it doesn’t get out of that committee by Friday Feb. 24th, the bill will die.

Secure Medicine Return ordinances that are similar to SHB 1047 have been passed in King, Kitsap, Snohomish and Pierce counties.  The manufacturers’ program has launched in King County with more than 99 secure medicine drop boxes.  The other county programs are expected to start later in 2017.  This means that 58% of the state’s population will soon have access to takeback boxes at local drugstores, medical centers and sheriff’s offices where old, unused medicines can be dropped off for safe disposal, paid for by the pharmaceutical industry.  Zero Waste Washington and a coalition of agencies and organizations supported these ordinances because of concerns about the opioid epidemic, suicide prevention, children’s poisonings, and drugs getting into fish in our rivers, lakes and marine waters.  Now, we want to make this program available to ALL of the residents of Washington.

What you can do – Time is critical!

Please call or email your Representative this week (preferably by 2/23/2017). They have a special hotline where you leave a message!   

Members of the Appropriations Committee are: Ormsby (3rd); Robinson (38th); Chandler (15th); MacEwen (35th); Stokesbary (31st); Bergquist (11th); Buys (42nd); Caldier (26th); Cody (34th); Condotta (12th); Fitzgibbon (34th); Haler (8th); Hansen (23rd); Harris (17th); Hudgins (11th); Jinkins (27th); Kagi (32nd); Lytton (40th); Manweller (13th); Nealey (16th); Pettigrew (37th); Pollet (46th); Sawyer (29th); Schmick (9th); Senn (41st); Springer (45th); Stanford (1st); Sullivan (47th); Taylor (15th); Tharinger (24th); Vick (18th); Volz (6th); Wilcox (2nd).

Telephone hotline: Callers to the Hotline (1-800-562-6000; TTY for Hearing Impaired 1-800-635-9993) can leave a brief message for their district legislators on issues of concern or on questions you have about bills or laws. These messages are forwarded electronically to the appropriate individuals. When leaving a message with the Hotline, please be prepared to give your name and street address. The Hotline is open from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Find your legislator’s email address: OR click here to comment directly on the bill:

Here is a sample email or telephone message you can leave:

Sample Phone Message:

Please support SHB 1047 because we need more secure medicine drop boxes for leftover medicines.  

Choose from these reasons why:
We have to do more to stop drug abuse and addiction. Medicine take-back is part of the solution.
Medicine take-back gets drugs safely out of our homes to help prevent abuse, poisonings, and overdoses.
It’s not safe to flush drugs or throw them in the trash, I want a secure drop box at my local pharmacy.
This bill is a sensible investment in public safety and the pharmaceutical industry needs to be part of the solution.

Message for Members of the Appropriations Committee:  
              Please vote Yes to move SHB 1047 out of the Appropriations Committee.

Message for Other Representatives, not on the Committee:
              Please support SHB 1047 and ask the Appropriations Committee to pass it.

Sample Email or Online Bill Comment:

I’m writing to ask you to support SHB 1047, the secure drug take-back bill.  Medicine abuse, addiction, and overdose deaths are serious problems.  It’s time to get serious about providing secure medicine drop boxes in all communities for public safety.  

HB 1047 creates a statewide system of secure drop boxes in pharmacies, hospitals, and police stations to serve all residents. The bill also requires public education about safe storage and secure disposal of medicines.  Getting leftover and expired medicines safely out of our homes reduces risks of abuse, poisonings, and overdoses. And safe disposal keeps these drugs from adding to pharmaceutical pollution in our waterways.  

Drug drop boxes and collection events are working where they’re available, but dedicated funding is needed to increase convenience and pay for disposal of the tons of leftover and expired medicines.  It makes sense to have the pharmaceutical industry invest a relatively small amount - only about 0.1% of their billions in medicine sales revenues - in this public safety program because they can include the take-back costs in their business models.  

Message for Members of the Appropriations Committee:
             Please vote Yes to move SHB 1047 out of the Appropriations Committee.

Message for Other Representatives, not on the Committee:
              Please support SHB 1047 and ask the Appropriations Committee to pass it.

To learn more about the issue and the bill, please go here:

Zero Waste Washington Survey:  We want your opinion

As we usher in a new era of growth and focus for the organization, we would love to hear what you are concerned about in the zero waste world.  


The survey should take you 10 minutes or less to fill out. Your answers are anonymous, unless you choose to add your information.

We are grateful for your help in creating a zero waste world!

Other legislative updates

It is that time of year.  Bills are flying fast and furious at the State legislature.  Policy cut off was last Friday (February 17) and so many bills died.

Zero Waste Washington has been tracking a number of bills and actively supporting others.  

Here are bills we supported:
•    Medicine Return (SHB 1047 - Protecting the public's health by creating a system for safe and secure collection and disposal of unwanted medications):  See above for status. This is our #1 priority.
•    Paint (SHB 1376 - Concerning paint stewardship):  Still alive (was referred to Appropriations Committee).  Require stewardship of discarded latex and oil-based paint. A bill that has come up several times for the past few years and would be a major step forward for Washington if passed.
•    Recycling solar panels (HB 1048 - Promoting a sustainable, local renewable energy industry through modifying renewable energy system tax incentives and providing guidance for renewable energy system component recycling): Died in committee. Update: This bill is still alive as of 2/22/17. This bill was primarily about solar incentives and included language requiring guidance for solar module product stewardship plans and implementation.
•    Children’s computers.  (HB 1596 - Requiring manufacturers of electronics to report the presence of high priority chemicals under the children's safe products act): Died in committee. Would have added children’s electronics to the list of products in the Children’s Safe Products Act.
•    E-waste recycling.  (SHB 1824 - Concerning electronic product recycling): Still alive. Referred to Rules Committee. Updates the E-Cycle law that Zero Waste Washington championed in 2006. Adds transparency and sanctions for violations.
•    PFAS in food packaging (HB 1744 - Concerning the use of perfluorinated chemicals in food packaging): Died in committee. Would have banned the use of Teflon-like chemicals in food packaging including “to go” containers.

We have concerns about this bill:
•    Fees for Light-Cycle (SB 5762 - Concerning financing of the mercury-containing light stewardship program): Still alive in the Ways and Means Committee. Would decrease the amount of the annual fee required to be paid by a stewardship organization to the Department of Ecology and would reduce the frequency of independent financial audits to only once every three years (now they are annual). We are concerned about this bill because we want to make sure that Ecology has enough funds to effectively administer and enforce the program. Also, we are concerned that fewer financial audits will reduce needed transparency of the program.

Tacoma Tool Library at new locationThe Tacoma Tool Library had a fantastic first year!

In our work for waste prevention and community resilience, one of the community sharing projects that Zero Waste Washington started is the Tacoma Tool Library. We are now fiscal sponsors for this scrappy, independent, and fierce project that opened its doors to tool lending in 2016. In just about 9 months of being open, the Tacoma Tool Library has accomplished:

330 new members,
10 workshops and fixers nights,
1 movie screening,
1 maker space tour, and
76 days open to the public!

The most frequently loaned tool: the weed whacker!

If you are interested in starting a community sharing, reuse, repurpose, or repair project, get in touch with Eva at (206) 441-1790 or eva at

Last Updated (Wednesday, 22 February 2017 14:38)