A look at Zero Waste Washington’s incredible work over the years.


  • Zero Waste Washington’s #1 priority at the state legislature in 2018 was ESHB 1047 – the Secure Drug Takeback Act bill – which was championed by Representative Strom Peterson. This program ensures ALL residents of Washington State have access to secure take-back boxes at local drugstores, medical centers and sheriff’s offices where leftover, unused medicines can be dropped off for safe disposal, paid for by the pharmaceutical manufacturers.
  • In partnership with the Environmental Priorities Coalition, PFAS in food packaging (2ESHB 2658 – Concerning the use of perfluorinated chemicals in food packaging): Would ban the use of Teflon-like chemicals in food packaging including “to go” containers. STATUS: Passed into law! Signed by governor March 21, 2018.
  • Back in 1982, Zero Waste Washington helped pass a prohibition on detachable metal tabs on beverage cans. This law has been a tremendous success story in enhancing recycling and decreasing litter from detachable tabs. The attached lids stay with the cans and the aluminum can be recycled over and over again. In 2016, there was an effort to exempt beer cans from the prohibition on detachable metal tabs. This would have been a step in the wrong direction. Zero Waste Washington collaborated with others to defend the original law and successfully oppose this bill.
  • Supported successful passage of mercury-containing lighting bill, which requires producers to pay to recycle fluorescent lights from residents.


  • First year of E-Cycle Washington program. Producers collected over 38 million pounds of computers, monitors and TVs for recycling.
  • Developed first-of-its kind information on reducing waste medicines.
  • Evaluated the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation’s in store program for collecting and recycling rechargeable batteries and cell phones.
  • Participated on the Beyond Waste working group of Washington’s Climate Advisory Team to recommend solid waste policies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Supported successful bill requiring vendors who sell beverages at outdoor sports facilities to provide recycling for bottles and cans.
  • Began a 2-year collaboration with a diverse coalition on a pilot program to securely take back unwanted household medicines.
  • Collaborated on successful passage of the electronics bill requiring producers to set up and pay for recycling of computers and TVs from residents, schools, and small businesses.
  • Worked with a number of counties to initiate retail “Take It Back Networks” for electronics and fluorescent lights.
  • Successfully advocated for a “study” bill requiring the Department of Ecology to make recommendations on recycling obsolete computers and TVs.
  • Began distribution of our “Citizen’s Guide to Producer Responsibility” to over 11,000 citizens, elected officials, and others.
  • Supported Seattle’s 60% recycling goal and activities to achieve that goal, including bans on certain recyclables in the garbage.
  • Advocated for a progressive Beyond Waste Plan for Washington State.
  • Co-sponsored a regional conference on producer responsibility.


  • Provided leadership for the first America Recycles Day in Washington, which resulted in dozens of events promoting recycling to thousands of people.
  • Highlighted the lack of plastics recycling through the “Take the Wrap” campaign and the “Plagued by Plastic Packaging” consumer guide.
  • Organized the “Reach for Unbleached” paper campaign, impacting procurement policies regionally and nationally.
  • Facilitated a used motor oil collection program at over thirty sites in western Washington and served as a catalyst for an additional 60 sites statewide.
  • Provided recycling and environmental information to the public at the Northwest Folklife Festival.
  • Successfully advocated for law requiring government agencies to use recycled materials and creating the Clean Washington Center to further develop markets for recycled products.
  • Released “Packaging Awards and Booby Prizes from an Environmental Point of View” that received extensive national coverage and sparked broad awareness of excess packaging as a concern.


  • Advocated for a solid waste system that encourages waste reduction and recycling as top priorities. Culminated in the passage of the 1989 Waste Not Washington Act which made curbside recycling a widespread reality in Washington.
  • Helped prevent the siting of solid waste incinerators in Seattle and King County.
  • Implemented Washington State’s first Recyclathon. For a number of years, annual recyclathons aided in cleaning up litter in Seattle, raising money for WCFR, and bringing media attention to the issues of litter and recycling.
  • Participated in the passage of hazardous waste management priority legislation, which established hazardous waste reduction and recycling as the highest priority.
  • Successfully lobbied for passage of the oil recycling bill.
  • Helped draft and successfully lobbied for a ban on detachable metal pull-tabs on beverage containers in Washington State.

Organizational History

Zero Waste Washington got its start in 1979 as Washington Citizens for Recycling, focusing on recycling, hazardous waste and solid waste. Soon after, it was joined by Washington Citizen’s Recycling Foundation, underwent reorganization, and shifted to promoting waste prevention and recycling in Washington. In 1995, the organization rebranded as Washington Citizens for Resource Conservation at which point the mission expanded to include product stewardship. In 2010, we became Zero Waste Washington, building on the legacy of our visionary predecessors and forging ahead with the mission to drive policy change for a healthy and waste-free world. We envision a just, equitable, and sustainable future where we all produce, consume, and reuse responsibly.