2017 Legislative Session - Top Priority: Secure Medicine Return

Zero Waste Washington worked hard for zero waste policy in 2017.

Number 1 priority: Secure Medicine Return

Zero Waste Washington’s #1 priority at the state legislature was SHB 1047 - the Secure Drug Take-back bill - which was championed by Representative Strom Peterson. We put significant resources into support of this bill.

Secure Medicine Return ordinances that are similar to SHB 1047 have been passed in King, Kitsap, Snohomish and Pierce counties. In January 2017, the manufacturers’ program 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 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 through a state law.

STATUS: The bill passed out of the House Health Care and Wellness Committee on Feb. 15 and the House Appropriations Committee on Feb. 21 but did not move to a floor vote prior to the cut-off date in March. We worked to support data collection over the interim and planned a renewal of effort in the 2018 legislative session.

Other legislation

Zero Waste Washington tracked a number of bills and actively supported others.

Here are bills we supported:

  • E-waste recycling. (SHB 1824 - Concerning electronic product recycling): Updated the E-Cycle law that Zero Waste Washington championed in 2006. Added transparency and sanctions for violations. STATUS: Bill passed out of the House committees but no vote was held on the floor.


  • 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): This bill was primarily about solar incentives and included language requiring guidance for solar module product stewardship plans and implementation. STATUS: Bill was passed and signed by the governor in July 2017.  This was the first solar module product stewardship law in the US!


  • Paint (SHB 1376 - Concerning paint stewardship): Required stewardship of discarded latex and oil-based paint. This bill had come up several times over a few years and would have been a major step forward for Washington if passed. STATUS: The bill ended session in the House Rules committee.


  • Children’s computers. (HB 1596 - Requiring manufacturers of electronics to report the presence of high priority chemicals under the children's safe products act): Would have added children’s electronics to the list of products in the Children’s Safe Products Act. STATUS: Died in policy committee.


  • PFAS in food packaging (HB 1744 - Concerning the use of perfluorinated chemicals in food packaging): Would have banned the use of Teflon-like chemicals in food packaging including “to go” containers. STATUS: Died in policy committee.
  • Fees for Light-Cycle (SB 5762 - Concerning financing of the mercury-containing light stewardship program): Decrease the amount of the annual fee required to be paid by a stewardship organization to the Department of Ecology and reduced the frequency of independent financial audits to only once every two years (now they are annual). We were concerned about this bill because we wanted to make sure that Ecology has enough funds to effectively administer and enforce the program. Also, we were concerned that fewer financial audits will reduce needed transparency of the program. STATUS: Bill passed and was signed by the governor.

Public Participation Grants

In 2016, lack of action to adequately address an unprecedented revenue shortfall in critical toxics accounts resulted in diminished funding for toxics cleanup and prevention programs. As part of these cuts, funding for public participation grants was eliminated for the 2015-17 biennium. These important grants support participation by people and groups in communities impacted by toxic pollution threats as well as in implementing the state's solid and hazardous waste priorities. Suspending these grants means decreased community engagement on issues that are critical to human health and the environment.

In 2017, we wee part of a coalition of organizations that pushed for this grant program to be fully funded. STATUS: The state budget included full funding for the PPG program


Last Updated (Friday, 02 February 2018 11:51)