2020 Legislative Session
Zero Waste Washington will work hard to support strong zero waste policy during the 2020 WA legislative session, working with partner organizations and agencies. The session runs from January 13 to March 12, 2020.
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Reusable Bag Bill (2SHB 1205/ESSB 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 37 local plastic bag ordinances in Washington, bans thin plastic carryout bags at all retail establishments. Stores could provide paper or thicker plastic bags (2.25 mil thick) for an 8 cents pass-through charge. For more info, please see bag bill factsheet. House bill – did not advance in 2019 session, not expected in 2020. Senate bill – Passed Senate Floor with a bipartisan 31-14-4 vote on March 5, 2019. See press release (March 6, 2019). See press release from Recology about tests that show that thicker plastic bags do NOT clog equipment at recycling facilities. Did not come to the House floor for a vote in 2019. STATUS: Senate bill – Passed Senate Floor with a bipartisan 30-19 vote on January 15, 2020. See press release (January 15, 2020). Referred to House Environment & Energy committee on January 16, 2020.
Styrofoam Ban (HB 2429/SB 6213– Concerning certain expanded polystyrene products): Bans expanded polystyrene (aka styrofoam) food service products, coolers and packing materials (peanuts and rigid materials). Similar to 3 other state bills but goes further. For more info, please see styrofoam bill factsheet. STATUS: House bill referred to Environment & Energy committee January 14, 2020. Senate bill heard in Environment, Energy & Technology committee at 10:00 on January 21, 2020.
Sharps Product Stewardship (HB 2360 – Establishing the sharps waste stewardship program): Establishes a producer responsibility program for medical sharps (syringes, needles, etc.) in Washington. Would include collection of sharps used in non-clinical settings funded by the sharps producers. For more info, please see sharps bill factsheet. STATUS: Scheduled for executive session in Health Care & Wellness committee at 8:00 on January 31, 2020.
Battery Product Stewardship (HB 2496 – Providing for responsible environmental management of batteries): Establishes a producer responsibility program for batteries (up to 25 pounds) in Washington. Batteries are especially a concern because improper disposal leads to fires, such as at our recycling facilities. Would include collection of batteries at retail locations and municipal drop-off locations. For more info, please see battery bill factsheet. STATUS: Scheduled for public hearing in the Environment and Energy committee at 8:00 on January 30, 2020.
Food labeling (HB 2651 – Addressing food waste by standardizing labels communicating the freshness or expiration of food): There is much confusion about what labels mean on food. The only food that is required to have an expiration date in the US is infant formula. This bill would require that if labels are used, manufactures must use “Best if used by” or “Best if used or frozen by” to indicate food quality and “Use by” or “Use or freeze by” to indicate food safety. For more info, please see food label bill factsheet. STATUS: Heard in Rural Development, Agriculture, & Natural Resources committee at 10:00 on January 24, 2020. Scheduled for executive session in the HRural Development, Agriculture, & Natural Resources committee at 10:00 on January 31, 2020.
Solar panel recycling (HB 2645 – Concerning the photovoltaic module stewardship and takeback program.): Fixes loopholes in the existing producer stewardship program for solar modules. The law passed in 2017 didn’t apply to solar panels that are not associated with buildings – i.e., solar farms. STATUS: Scheduled for public hearing in the Environment and Energy committee at 1:30 on January 27, 2020.
Plastic food service products (HB 2656 / SB SB 6627 (Previously SHB 1632) – Reducing waste associated with single-use food service products): Requires food service products (plates, cups, clamshells, deli rounds, etc.) to be recyclable or compostable ….and ultimately compostable-only by 2030. Requires utensils, straws and condiment packages be offered on demand. Adds a tax. STATUS: House bill scheduled for public hearing in the Environment and Energy committee at 1:30 on January 27, 2020. Senate bill introduced January 24, 2020.
Recycled content (HB 2722 – Relating to minimum recycled content requirements): Requires that beverage containers sold into Washington State have minimum post-consumer recycled plastic content, tiered up each 5 years up to a minimum of 75% by 2030. STATUS: Scheduled for public hearing in the Environment & Energy committee at 8:00 on January 30, 2020.
Banning withdrawal of WA water for bottled water (SB SB 6278 – Concerning water withdrawals for commercial bottled water production): Bans withdrawal of Washington waters for water bottling. STATUS: Scheduled for executive session in the Agriculture, Water, Natural Resources & Parks committee at 1:30 on January 30, 2020.
Right to Repair (SHB 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: Heard in Environment, Energy & Technology committee at 10:00 on January 21, 2020.
Flushable wipes (HB 2565 – Concerning the labeling of disposable wipes products): Requires that nonflushable wipes be labeled as such. STATUS: Scheduled for executive session in the Environment & Energy committee at 8:00 on January 30, 2020.
Photo: Sanitation Districts of LA County
Additional bills we support
Compost use (HB 2713 – Encouraging compost procurement and use): Compost is important to help restore soil health and to help reduce food waste. In Washington, we want to help improve the financial value of compost by increasing the use of compost. This bill requires local governments to determine if compost products can be utilized in their project, and, if so, requires them to purchase compost (with a priority for local compost). STATUS: Referred to State Government & Tribal Relations committee on January 20, 2020.
Industrial waste (SB 6430 (Previously SSB 5936 / HB 2079) – Establishing a statewide industrial waste coordination program): 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. In 2019 Senate bill – Passed Senate Floor unanimously 48-0-1 on March 8, 2019. STATUS: Scheduled for executive session in the Senate Committee on Environment, Energy & Technology committee at 10:00 on January 30, 2020.
Biowaste study (SB 6435 – Promoting the development of the Washington state bioeconomy): Requires the Dhe University of Washington must conduct a study identifying opportunities to further develop Washington State’s bioeconomy to expand the use of renewable biological resources in the production of fuels, chemicals, and other materials. Report due July 1, 2023. STATUS: Scheduled for executive session in the Senate Committee on Environment, Energy & Technology committee at 8:00 AM on January 29, 2020.
Plastic straw ban (ESSB 5077 – Prohibiting single-use plastic straws): Requiring that straws only be offered on demand. STATUS: Senate bill – Passed Senate Floor with a 27-21-1 vote on March 5, 2019. See press release (March 6, 2019). Referred to House Rules 2 Review on April 3, 2019.
Composting/recycling in schools (SB 5187 – Concerning school composting and recycling): Allows public schools to offer students the opportunity to compost their food waste and to recycle and permits the state to provide free pickup of compost and provide supplies such as bins and compost bags. STATUS: Was heard in Senate committees during the the 2019 session
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: Bill was heard in House committees during the the 2019 session.
Using American or recycled steel in construction (HB 1570/SSB 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 post-consumer scrap steel material as the major feedstock. STATUS: Introduced but not heard in committee in 2019 session.
Bills we oppose or for which we have strong concerns
Repeal of existing solar panel recycling program (HB 2389 Establishing a comprehensive, statewide photovoltaic module recovery, reuse, recycling, and end-of-life program): Repeals the existing existing producer stewardship program for solar modules and establishes a study and stakeholder process. Please email Heather to find out more. STATUS: Scheduled for public hearing in Environment & Energy committee at 1:30 on January 27, 2020.
SIMILAR BILL, BUT NO REPEAL Study associated with existing solar panel recycling program (SB 6622 Establishing a comprehensive, statewide photovoltaic module recovery, reuse, recycling, and end-of-life program): Delays implementation of the existing existing producer stewardship program for solar modules and establishes a study and stakeholder process. Please email Heather to find out more. STATUS: Bill introduced January 24, 2020.
Allows Waste to Energy (aka incineration) to be renewable energy (HB 2495 Concerning the use of electricity from energy recovery facilities using municipal solid waste under the Washington clean energy transformation act): Allows burning of municipal solid waste to be considered renewable energy. Please email Heather to find out more. STATUS: Referred to Environment & Energy committee on January 15, 2020.
Standardized list for recyclables (HB 1795/ SB 5854 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: Bills did not advance past policy committees in the 2019 session.
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 2019 legislative session, we have four priorities essential for healthy communities and a thriving environment:
- Reusable Bag Bill (HB 1205/SSB 5323) – See above
- Clean Fuels Now – More details to come
- Climate Pollution Limits – More details to come
- Healthy Habitat Healthy Orcas – More details to come
- 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 Extending Apple Health Coverage Until Age 26, Safe Train Crew Size Act, and Voting Justice bills. More details to come.