Our legislative priorities

The 2014 legislative session is moving fast, and Zero Waste Washington is weighing in on bills related to mercury-containing lights recycling, paint stewardship, composting, and incineration.

Recycling mercury-containing lights hglampsMore than 10 million light bulbs and tubes containing highly toxic mercury are sold for residential use in our state each year, but only about 5% are recycled. Zero Waste Washington supported passage of the 2010 law requiring lighting manufacturers to provide a statewide recycling program, but the program has not been implemented due to a lawsuit from the National Electrical Manufacturers Association over financing levels. This year, there’s a proposed amendment (HB 2246, SB 6177) to the law that is a negotiated agreement between stakeholders to address the financing issue. Zero Waste Washington supports this bill because we want to see a program up and running to properly recycle mercury-containing lights. The bill passed the House and now heads to the Senate.

Paint stewardship
Legislation (HB 1579, SB 5424) has been proposed that would create a convenient statewide paint recycling program for residents and small businesses that is established by paint manufacturers. Oil-based paint is toxic and latex paint often contains harmful components. Right now, 60% of Washington’s residents have no access to latex paint recycling. We can do much better! We need a paint program that is convenient throughout the state, east and west of the mountains and in urban and rural areas. Zero Waste Washington supports this bill. Unfortunately, the bill did not receive a vote before the cutoff, and is therefore done for this year.
Collection space for food and yard waste
Lack of adequate space for collection containers can be a barrier to collecting compostable food and yard waste at multi-family residences. This bill (HB 2481) helps address this issue by requiring the State Building Code Council to adopt rules requiring that space be provided at certain new residential buildings for the collection and transfer of food and yard waste to off-site composting facilities. Zero Waste Washington supports this bill, which passed out of the House and now moves to the Senate.

Defining energy from incineration as renewable
This bill (SB 6028) would define energy from a municipally owned waste-to-energy incinerator as an eligible renewable resource under the energy independence act. Zero Waste Washington opposes this bill because solid waste is not renewable. For example, just as oil is not a renewable resource, neither is plastic that’s made from oil. The bill covers existing waste-to-energy facilities back to 1991, diminishing the effectiveness of the existing energy independence law to incentivize new clean energy resources. In addition, incineration competes with recycling, which is more effective in conserving energy and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions. Unfortunately, this bill passed out of the Senate and now heads to the House.

Things happen quickly in this year’s “short” 60-day legislative session, which ends on March 13. To learn the status of these bills, you can check back to this page which we’ll periodically update during the session.

Last updated on Friday, February 21.

Last Updated (Tuesday, 25 February 2014 01:23)