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 ran from January 14 to April 28, 2019.
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Top priorities: Reusable Bags and Plastic Packaging Stewardship
DID NOT MAKE IT THIS SESSION, REGRETTABLY: 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 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 factsheet. STATUS: House bill – Referred to Rules 2 Review on February 27, 2019 – did not advance by cutoff date. Senate bill – Passed Senate Floor with a bipartisan 31-14-4 vote on March 5, 2019. See press release (March 6, 2019). On House floor calendar as of April 12, 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.
SIGNED BY THE GOVERNOR! Plastic Package Stewardship (HB 1204/E2SSB 5397– Concerning the responsible management of plastic packaging): A study bill that would create data report that could lead to legislation (in 2021) that 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 about the original bill, please see plastic stewardship summary STATUS: House bill did not make it out of policy committee. Senate bill (study bill) – Passed Senate Floor unanimously 48-0 on March 8, 2019. Passed House Floor with a bipartisan 75-23-0 vote on April 16, 2019. See press release (May 21, 2019)
Other Zero Waste Washington priorities
SIGNED BY THE GOVERNOR (banner photo above)! Food waste (E2SHB 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: Passed House Floor with a bipartisan 96-0-2 vote on March 9, 2019. Passed Senate Floor with a bipartisan 45-0-4 vote on April 13, 2019.
SIGNED BY THE GOVERNOR! Compostability labeling (ESHB 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: Passed House Floor with a bipartisan 60-37-1 vote on March 11, 2019. Passed Senate Floor with a bipartisan 30-17-2-4 vote on April 15, 2019.
SIGNED BY THE GOVERNOR! Sustainable Recycling (2SHB 1543/SSB 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 reduction8and outreach plans.STATUS: Senate bill – Placed on second reading by Senate Rules Committee on March 5, 2019. House bill – Passed House Floor with a bipartisan 64-32-2 vote on March 6, 2019. Passed Senate Floor with a 34-14-1 vote on April 13, 2019.
SIGNED BY THE GOVERNOR! Paint Stewardship (SHB 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: Passed House Floor with a bipartisan 62-35-1 vote on April 25, 2019. Passed Senate Floor with a bipartisan 26-22-0-1 vote on April 27, 2019. See media release (May 9, 2019)
MOST OF THE FUNDING RESTORED TO ITS INTENDED PURPOSE Litter Tax Budget item: Restoring the State Litter Tax to its intended uses to reduce litter source and improve recycling. STATUS: In final budgets.
Additional bill we supported.
SIGNED BY THE GOVERNOR! 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 bill – Did not pass out of fiscal committee. Senate bill – Passed Senate Floor on February 6, 2019 (yeas, 36; nays, 11; absent, 0; excused, 2). Passed House Floor on April 9, 2019 (yeas, 80; nays, 16; absent, 0; excused, 2).
Bills that sadly didn’t make it pass cutoff dates
PRIORITY BILL: Plastic food service products (SHB 1632 – Reducing pollution from single-use plastic food service ware): Requiring utensils, straws and condiment packages be offered on demand. STATUS: Referred to House Rules 2 Review on February 22, 2019. Bill has died for this year. We look forward to working on this next year!
PRIORITY BILL: 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: Senate bill – didn’t get out of policy committee. House bill – Referred to House Rules 2 Review on February 22, 2019. This bill did not make it out of the House Rules Committee by the deadline.
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: Passed to Senate Rules Committee for second reading on February 22, 2019. Was not selected for a floor vote.
Assessing recyclables (HB 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: On House floor calendar as of March 6, 2019, but was not selected for a vote. This bill was a backup bill to HB 1543 (above).
Industrial waste (SSB 5936 / HB 2079 – Concerning use of industrial waste through industrial symbioses): 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. STATUS: House bill did not make it out of policy committee. Senate bill – Passed Senate Floor unanimously 48-0-1 on March 8, 2019. Referred to House Appropriations Committee on April 1, 2019.
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 postconsumer scrap steel material as the major feedstock. STATUS: House bill – First reading, referred to House Capital Budget Committee on January 24, 2019. Senate bill – Referred to Transportation Committee on February 22, 2019.
Bill we opposed
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: Both bills did not make it out of policy committees.
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 haD 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.