2021 Legislative Session
It’s a wrap!
Zero Waste Washington worked hard to support strong zero waste policy during the 2021 WA legislative session, working with partner organizations and agencies. The session ran from January 11 to April 25, 2021.
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Zero waste bills that are moving forward
Signed into law by the governor! Revise recycling and reduce plastic pollution bill (HB 1118/SSB 5022 – Concerning the management of certain materials to support recycling and waste and litter reduction): Underlying bill championed by Senator Mona Das and Representative Liz Berry, is an omnibus bill includes product stewardship for packaging and printed paper and other sections to implement the top recommendations in Ecology’s Plastics Study (October 2020). This study was required by Senator Rolfes’ SB5397 in 2019 to address our recycling crisis and the increasing amount of plastic pollution.
The Senate substitute bill (PSSB 5022) moved forward in session includes three components:
- Recycled content for beverage containers: Requires that plastic beverage containers sold into Washington State have minimum post-consumer recycled plastic content, tiered up each 5 years up to a minimum of 50% by 2031. This bill applies to almost all beverages for human and animal consumption. Based on HB 2722 from last year.
- Recycled content for plastic trash bags and jugs/bottles: Requires that plastic trash bags and Household personal care and cleaning product containers (jugs and bottles) sold into Washington State have minimum post-consumer recycled plastic content.
- Ban expanded polystyrene (aka styrofoam) food service products, coolers and packing materials (peanuts). Similar to 5 other state bills but goes further. Based on SB6213 from last year.
- Optional serviceware. Requires utensils, straws, beverage cup lids and condiment packages be offered on request. Based on HB2656 from last year.
STATUS: House bill: First reading, referred to Environment & Energy on January 11, 2021. Senate bill: Passed out of Senate (31; nays, 17; absent, 0; excused, 1) on March 2, 2021. House: Passed out of House (yeas, 73; nays, 24; absent, 0; excused, 1) on April 7, 2021. Senate concurred on April 19, 2021. Signed by the governor on May 17, 2021. See final press release.
Signed into law by the governor! Wheat straw for bags (HB 1145 – Allowing the use of nonwood renewable fiber in recycled content paper carryout bags): Would allow non-wood renewable fiber (aka wheat straw) to replace part of the required recycled content in paper bags. STATUS: Passed out of house (yeas, 97; nays, 0; absent, 0; excused, 1) on March 1, 2021. Senate: Passed out of the Senate (yeas, 47; nays, 0; absent, 0; excused, 2) on April 3, 2021. Signed by Speaker and President (April 5) and governor (April 14).
Signed into law by the governor! Industrial symbiosis (SB 5345 – Establishing a statewide industrial waste coordination program): Championed by Senator Brown, bill requires the Department of Commerce to produce a proposal and recommendations for setting up an industrial waste coordination program and authorizes Commerce to make loans or grants and provide technical assistance for development of projects that encourage and enhance projects to create a cooperative use of waste heat and materials. Similar to last year’s SB 6430. STATUS: Passed out of senate (yeas, 47; nays, 0; absent, 0; excused, 2) on February 26, 2021. House: Passed out of House ( yeas, 95; nays, 2; absent, 0; excused, 1) on April 10, 2021. Senate concurred on April 14, 2021. Signed by Governor on May 13, 2021.
Signed into law by the governor! Fluorinated gases (HB 1050 – Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from fluorinated gases): Championed by Representative Joe Fitzgibbon this bill establishes a maximum global warming potential threshold for hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) used in stationary air conditioning, stationary refrigeration, and ice rinks. And requires Ecology to provide recommendations to the Legislature by December 1, 2021, regarding the design of a program to address the end-of-life management and disposal of refrigerants.. STATUS: Passed out of House (yeas, 56; nays, 40; absent, 0; excused, 2) on February 23, 2021. Senate: Rules Committee relieved of further consideration. Placed on second reading on April 6, 2021. Passed out of Senate (yeas, 30; nays, 19; absent, 0; excused, 0) on April 7, 2021. House concurred on April 12, 2021. Signed by the governor on May 17, 2021.
Signed into law by the governor! Lead in drinking water in schools (HB 1139 – Taking action to address lead in drinking water): Championed by Representative Pollet, this bill requires and facilitates sampling and testing for lead contamination at drinking water outlets in school buildings. STATUS: Passed out of house (yeas, 94; nays, 4; absent, 0; excused, 0) on March 4, 2021. Senate: Passed our of Senate (yeas, 48; nays, 0; absent, 0; excused, 1) on April 11, 2021. House concurred on April 14, 2021. Governor signed on May 3, 2021.
Signed into law by the governor! Laptops for students (HB 1365 – Procuring and supporting appropriate computers and devices for public school students and instructional staff): Championed by Representative Gregerson, this bill requires provision of learning devices for students and staff, including recycling and repair. STATUS: House: Passed out of House (yeas, 59; nays, 39; absent, 0; excused, 0) on March 1, 2021. Senate: Passed out of Senate (yeas, 36; nays, 13; absent, 0; excused, 0) on April 10, 2021. There was back and forth on concurrence. Signed by Governor on May 13, 2021.
Signed into law by the governor! Adjusting drug-take back law (HB 1161 – Modifying the requirements for drug take-back programs): Championed by Representative Peterson, this bill modifies the drug take-back law to allow for multiple product stewardship programs and strengthens physical location take-back requirements. STATUS: Passed out of House (yeas, 97; nays, 0; absent, 0; excused, 1) on March 8, 2021. Senate: Passed out of Senate (yeas, 36; nays, 13; absent, 0; excused, 0) on April 11, 2021. Governor signed on May 3, 2021.
Signed into law by the governor Delaying implementation of solar panel recycling (HB 1393 – Delaying certain implementation dates for the photovoltaic module stewardship and takeback program): Delays implementation of product stewardship law by two years to 2025. STATUS: Passed out of House (yeas, 93; nays, 2; absent, 0; excused, 3) on February 26. 2021. Senate: Passed out of Senate (yeas, 45; nays, 4; absent, 0; excused, 0) on March 29, 2021. Signed by Speaker and President (April 5). Governor signed on April 15, 2021.
Signed into law by the governor Litter control, along state highways, funding (SB 5040 – Enhancing litter control along state highways): Prioritizing funding for highway litter pickup. STATUS: Passed out of Senate (yeas, 49; nays, 0; absent, 0; excused, 0) on March 9, 2021.House: Passed out of House (yeas, 96; nays, 1; absent, 0; excused, 1) on April 7, 2021. Senate concurred on April 14, 2021. Governor signed on May 10, 2021
Zero waste bills that did not make it this year
Bills we supported
Right to Repair (HB1212 – Promoting the fair servicing and repair of digital electronic products to increase access to appropriate and affordable digital products, support small businesses and jobs, and enhance digital connectivity in Washington state): Championed by Representative Mia Gregerson. Requires digital electronic product manufacturers, such as Apple and Microsoft, to make available electronic and repair information, parts, and tools related to independent repair. This bill makes it possible for small businesses to do repairs of cellphones and other items with motherboards and screens. This way, people will keep using their items instead of tossing them! Based on SHB 1342/SB 5799 from last year. STATUS: Scheduled for executive session but no action taken in the House Committee on Consumer Protection & Business at 10:00 am on February 15, 2021
Organic Waste Goal (SB 5286 – Establishing a statewide organic waste management goal): Championed by Senator Mona Das, this bill establishes a goal of 90% reduction of organic waste to our landfills by 2030, relative to 2021 levels, and a suite of actions to help facilitate the goal, including expansion of composting, anaerobic digestions and other forms of organic waste management. Mitigates climate change by reducing our carbon footprint through increased carbon sequestration, when recycled organic materials are applied is applied to soil systems, and through the useful diversion of organic waste from landfills, where the waste would otherwise produce carbon-intensive methane emissions. STATUS: Referred to Committee on Environment & Energy Committee on January 19, 2021.
Recycling wind turbine blades (SB 5174 – Providing for the recycling of wind turbine blades): Championed by Senator Jeff Wilson, this bill establishes producer responsibility program for recycling wind turbine blades. STATUS: Placed on second reading by Rules Committee on March 3, 2021.
Siting energy facilities (SB 5415 – Concerning the energy facility site evaluation council): Championed by Senator Lovelett, this bill addresses clean energy projects defined as one of the following types of facilities: alternative energy resource, electric energy storage, facilities capable of processing more than 1500 barrels per day of biofuel into refined products, except where this production is undertaken at existing industrial facilities, projects capable of producing replacements for natural gas from renewable sources, including renewable natural gas and renewable hydrogen, and clean energy manufacturing projects. STATUS: Executive session scheduled, but no action was taken in the Senate Committee on Environment, Energy & Technology at 10:30 am on February 11, 2021.
No meat garbage to swine (SB 5300 – Prohibiting the feeding of garbage to swine): This bill prohibits feeding of garbage to swine. Garbage is defined as all waste material derived in whole or in part from the meat of an animal, including fish and poultry, or other animal material, and other refuse of any character whatsoever that has been associated with any such material, resulting from the handling, preparation, cooking, or consumption of food STATUS: Passed out of Senate (48; nays, 0; absent, 0; excused, 1) on February 23, 2021. House: Referred to Rules 2 Review on March 22, 2021.
Timing of fireworks prohibitions (HB 1059 – Concerning fireworks prohibitions adopted by cities or counties): Championed by Representative Joe Fitzgibbon, this bill required that prohibitions on consumer fireworks enacted under RCW 70.77.395(3) which shall take effect immediately. Fireworks are a significant source of plastic and other debris on beaches and in other locations during holiday periods. STATUS: Referred to Rules 2 Review on February 2, 2021.
Delay plastic bag law (HB 1053– Delaying the implementation of restrictions on carryout bags): Championed by Representative Strom Peterson and requested by the grocery and restaurant associations because of supply issues of paper bags due to COVID-19. Delays law implementation until June 30, with potential extension by governor of up to 6 more months if there are still supply issues related to the pandemic. STATUS: Referred to Rules 2 Consideration on January 26, 2021.
“Pick it up, Washington” litter program (SB 5429/HB 1501 – Concerning the “pick it up, Washington” litter control program): Establishes a network of volunteers who agree to participate in the “pick it up, Washington” program overseen by Ecology. The program consists of pick it up volunteers who are willing to assist with litter removal in public places that are not private property. STATUS: First reading, referred to Environment, Energy & Technology on February 5, 2021.
Bills we opposed or for which we had concerns
Alternative approach to recycled content (SB 5219/HB1488 – Concerning the management of plastic packaging materials): Promoted as an alternative to SB5022 (above). Requires recycled content for all plastics and funding based on penalties. STATUS: Senate bill: Heard in the Senate Committee on Environment, Energy & Technology at 10:30 am on January 28, 2021. House bill: Heard in the House Committee on Environment & Energy at 1:30 pm on February 11, 2021.
Alternative to 100% recycled content paper (HB 1518 – Concerning environmental standards of paper products for printers and copiers that are purchased by the state, for state agencies): Sponsored by Representative Monica Jurado Stonier, this bill would add an option to use paper being made in a process that yields at least a 40 percent reduction in carbon dioxide for standard copy paper instead of 100% recycled content for state agencies. STATUS: Heard in the House Committee on State Government & Tribal Relations at 8:15 am on March 10, 2021.
Environmental Priorities Coalition
Zero Waste Washington is part of the Environmental Priorities Coalition. The Coalition is made up of 24 statewide organizations working to safeguard our environment and the health of our communities in the state legislature. For the 2021 legislative session, we have three priorities essential for healthy communities and a thriving environment:
- Clean Fuels Now
- Clean and Just Transportation
- Conservation Works (strong budget)
- Partnership Agenda. The coalition has also adopted a Partnership Agenda. This agenda supports work that is important for environmental progress being led by partners outside the coalition and include Voting Justice, Healthy Environment for All (HEAL) Act, Working Families Tax Credit, and Worker Protection bills.