2019 Legislative Session
Zero Waste Washington will work hard to support strong zero waste policy during the 2019 WA legislative session, working with partner organizations and agencies. The session is scheduled for January 14 through April 28, 2019.
Top priorities: Reusable Bags and Plastic Packaging Stewardship
Reusable Bag Bill (HB 1205/SSB 5323 – Relating to reducing pollution from plastic bags by establishing minimum state standards for the use of carryout bags at retail establishments): Building on the 27 local plastic bag ordinances in Washington, bans thin plastic carryout bags at all retail establishments. Stores could provide paper or thicker plastic bags (3 mil thick) for a 10 cents pass-through charge. For more info, please see bag bill summary and bag bill factsheet. STATUS: Referred to House Finance Committee on February 15, 2019. Scheduled for executive session in the Senate Committee on Ways & Means on February 20, 2019.
Plastic Package Stewardship (HB 1204/SSB 5397– Concerning the responsible management of plastic packaging): This cutting-edge bill, if passed, would dramatically improve our recycling system in Washington by creating a stewardship program paid for by the plastic packaging manufacturers. Similar to programs in place in EU and in British Columbia, the end of life of all plastic packaging would be responsibly managed. For more info, please see plastic stewardship summary STATUS: Referred to Senate Ways & Means Committee on February 8, 2019. Heard in House Committee on Environment & Energy on February 7, 2019.
Other Zero Waste Washington priorities
Food waste (SHB 1114 – Reducing the wasting of food in order to fight hunger and reduce environmental impacts): Establishes a goal for the state to reduce, by 50%, the amount of wasted food generated annually by 2030, relative to 2017 levels. This would match the EPA goal established by the Obama administration. The bill requires assessment and planning by the department of ecology and cities and counties. STATUS: Scheduled for executive session in the House Committee on Appropriations on February 20, 2019.
Compostability labeling (HB 1569 – Concerning marketing the degradability of products): Authorizes the state’s attorney general and local governments to pursue false or misleading environmental claims and “greenwashing” for plastic products claiming to be “compostable” or “biodegradable” when in fact they are not. Also, requires clear and easy to understand labeling on compostable products sold for use in Washington. STATUS: Referred to House Appropriations Committee on February 18, 2019.
Plastic food service products (HB 1632 – Reducing pollution from single-use plastic food service ware): Requiring utensils, straws and condiment packages be offered on demand and setting goals to phase-out non-recyclable and non-compostable food service products used in Washington. STATUS: Scheduled for executive session in the House Committee on Environment & Energy on February 19 or 20, 2019.
Sustainable Recycling (HB 1543/SB 5545 – Concerning sustainable recycling): Creates a recycling development center to research, incentivize, and develop new markets and expand existing markets for recycled commodities and recycling facilities. Requires Ecology to create and implement a statewide recycling contamination reduction and outreach plan based on best management practices for recycling and provide assistance to local jurisdictions to develop contamination reduction and outreach plans. STATUS: Referred to House Appropriations Committee on February 18, 2019. Referred to Senate Ways & Means Committee on February 15, 2019.
Right to Repair (HB 1342/SB 5799 – Concerning the fair servicing and repair of digital electronic products): 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! STATUS: Scheduled for executive session in the House Committee on Innovation, Technology & Economic Development on February 19, 20 or 22, 2019.
Paint Stewardship (HB 1652 – Concerning paint stewardship): 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. STATUS: Referred to house Appropriations Committee on February 18, 2019.
Litter Tax Budget item: Restoring the State Litter Tax to its intended uses to reduce litter source and improve recycling. STATUS: TBD
Additional bills we are supporting.
Assessing recyclables (SHB 1665 – Encouraging economic development by identifying ways to grow Washington’s manufacturing sector through evaluating the opportunities and barriers of repurposing domestic waste stream materials): Requires completion of an economic analysis of recyclable material and solid waste processing, export, and disposal activities in Washington. STATUS: Scheduled for executive session in the House Committee on Innovation, Technology & Economic Development on February 19, 20,and 22, 2019.
Litter penalties (SHB 1088 – Relating to repercussions for littering): Requiring a person to perform forty hours of community restitution removing litter from public property (in addition to fines). STATUS: Referred to Rules 2 Review on February 4, 2019.
Plastic straw ban (SB 5077 – Prohibiting single-use plastic straws): Prohibiting sales or distribution of plastic or compostable resin-based beverage straws within Washington, except for accommodations needed for health care and individuals with disabilities. STATUS: Passed to Senate Rules Committee for second reading on February 15, 2019.
Alternative to cremation (SHB 1162/ ESSB 5001– Concerning human remains): Allowing Alkaline hydrolysis or hydrolysis means the reduction of human remains to bone fragments and essential elements in a licensed hydrolysis facility using heat, pressure, water, and chemical agents. STATUS: House version – Referred to House Appropriations Committee on February 8, 2019. Senate version – Passed Floor on February 6, 2019 (yeas, 36; nays, 11; absent, 0; excused, 2) and scheduled for public hearing in the House Committee on Consumer Protection & Business on February 19, 2019 and executive session on February 20, 2019.
Using American or recycled steel in construction (HB 1570/SB 5456 – Requiring the use of American or recycled steel products on certain public works): Requires public works projects require that all steel products used or supplied must be produced in the US or produced in a country where more than 65% of that country’s total crude steel output is produced by means of electric arc furnaces that use postconsumer scrap steel material as the major feedstock. STATUS: Senate version – Scheduled for public hearing in the Senate Committee on State Government, Tribal Relations & Elections on February 20, 2019 and executive session on February 21, 2019. House version- First reading, referred to House Capital Budget Committee.
Bills we oppose
Standardized list for recyclables (HB 1795 Ensuring the long-term economic and environmental sustainability of the state’s recycling system within the existing regulatory structure): Requires a limited list of items that can be put in the “blue bin” be listed in statute, with additional items to be added only with life cycle analysis. We strongly oppose this bill. Please email Heather to find out more. STATUS: Heard in the House Committee on Environment & Energy on February 7, 2019. Scheduled for public hearing in the Senate Committee on Environment, Energy & Technology on February 19, 2019.
Environmental Priorities Coalition
Zero Waste Washington is part of the Environmental Priorities Coalition. The Coalition is made up of more than 20 statewide organizations working to safeguard our environment and the health of our communities in the state legislature. For the 2019 legislative session, we have four priorities essential for healthy communities and a thriving environment:
- Reusable Bag Bill (HB 1205/SSB 5323) – See above
- 100% Clean Electricity (HB 1211/ SB 5116) – Changing our electrical power to fossil-free, clean energy
- Orca Emergency Response (Habitat: HB 1579/SB 5580; Vessel noise: HB 1580/SB 5577; Toxics: HB 1194/SB 5135) – Restoring health of orca population
- Oil Spill Prevention (SB 5578/HB 1578) – Strengthening oil transportation safety and spill prevention
- 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 the Healthy Environment for All (HEAL), Pesticide Safety for Communities, Presumptive Disease Recognition for Firefighters and Solar Fairness bills.