Zero Waste Washington drives 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.

Help needed #1: Major zero waste bills moving forward

Representative Liz Berry and Senator Christine Rolfes, champions of the WRAP Act!

This is a newsletter full of requests for help from you! See below for needed help with office work party, phthalates sample prep, furniture repair and more! And, especially, we need your help to let your legislators know that you want them to vote yes on the zero waste bills, and not let them be weakened by amendments! We are in a critical week – all of the zero waste bills must be voted out of their house of origin by 5 pm on March 8. We have a wonderful lineup of bills that are in play.

We are working with terrific partners on a large suite of legislative bills this session and, we are thrilled to report, most are moving forward. Here is a summary of the zero waste bills, their status, and how you can help us move them toward becoming law. Please see our Legislative Work webpage to get more details and to track bill progress:

The WRAP Act (HB 1131)

The big one! The WRAP Act (HB 1131) is a comprehensive bill that will modernize our recycling system in Washington. Three components of the bill work together to help us divert the $104 million dollars of recyclable materials that are going to our landfills today, provide sustainable funding for recycling, and reduce our dependence on finite and climate-impacting resources:

  • Part 1: Establishes a producer responsibility program to create a stronger connection between the manufacturers and the end-of-life management of their products by funding the recycling system, designing products that create less waste, and increasing the opportunities for residents to participate in a modernized recycling system.
  • Part 2: Increases mandates for use of post-consumer recycled content in more plastic products so that we can make new containers from the old containers. This will create strong markets for our recycled materials.
  • Part 3: Institutes a beverage deposit return system (aka “bottle bill”), a policy that has been shown in other states to reduce litter and create clean streams of material that can be made back into bottles and containers.

Our wonderful prime sponsors, Representative Liz Berry and Senator Christine Rolfes, have been deeply engaged in stewarding the bill, including many, many meetings with stakeholders.

How you can help: This is the key week when your legislators need to hear from you that you support the WRAP Act. Here is a quick link you can use to send an email to your legislators:

Right to Repair (HB 1392)

In its fifth year before the legislature, we see momentum that indicates this may be the year it passes. Finally! Representative Mia Gregerson and Senator Derek Stanford are leading the effort. Under Right to Repair (HB 1131), manufacturers would be required to provide parts, tools and specifications to both the public and independent repair shops so that we can more easily get electronic devices such as cell phones, laptops and game consoles repaired across the state.

Battery Recycling (SB 5144)

Senator Derek Stanford and newly elected Representative Chipalo Street are leading the product stewardship bill for recycling all batteries (SB 5144). As we move into a renewable energy future, we are using more and more batteries. And it is important to pass this bill to make it easier for batteries to be recycled responsibly across the state. It also allows for the recycling of those materials, including critical minerals, into new items, including batteries. Lastly, it will help reduce fires caused by improper disposal of batteries in the waste stream. Lithium-ion batteries can cause serious fires in our recycling and garbage trucks and facilities when they get crushed or “dinged.”

Plastic Reductions (HB 1085) – breaking news!  HB 1085 passed out of the House unanimously (!!) on February 28

Newly elected Representative Sharlett Mena is doing a fabulous job leading bills addressing many important issues, including HB 1085 which would reduce plastics in three ways: Requiring refill stations wherever a drinking fountain is required in all new buildings, phasing out mini toiletries (shampoos, conditions, lotions and soaps) at hotels and other lodging establishments, and banning the most problematic styrofoam-fill docks and floats and requiring a study of the rest.

Compostable Products (HB 1033) – breaking news!  HB 1033 passed out of the House with bipartisan vote on February 28

It’s often not obvious where compostable “to-go” foodware should go, and, to make it even more confusing, our compost facilities all have different rules. Representative Amy Walen is leading HB 1033 that would create a taskforce that would make policy recommendations to the legislators so that we can move quickly toward developing a statewide policy. Our goal is to help get more food waste to compost facilities rather than the landfill.

Cannabis waste (SB 5376)

Did you know that we have 400 cannabis farms in Washington? Who knew? We have learned that the huge amount of green waste generated by these farms (which makes terrific compost) is currently not allowed to be sold. And, if it is sent to the landfill, it must be diluted 50% by something else, such as kitty litter. Sponsored by Senator Stanford, this bill would allow sale of cannabis waste would not be designated as dangerous or hazardous waste. It could be then be composted and sold. A huge win for keeping unnecessary products out of our landfills.

Here is how you can help with these priority bills:

Please call or email your legislators directly using one of these two easy methods:

  • The Legislative Hotline (open M-F, 8 am to 7 pm) 1-800-562-6000: They will ask your name and address, and then will let you list several bill numbers. This is when you state your support or opposition and add a brief comment: “I urge your support on this bill because…”
  • Or, send an email using the legislative email system for the bill. Fill out the required comment boxes (it will automatically figure out your district after you type in your address). Be sure to click ‘select’ all three of your legislators. Click that you support the bill and add your personal (short) comment: “I support this bill because…”

Other bills still in action

Happily, a large number of other zero waste-related bills are still moving forward that would:

  • Phase out mercury light bulbs and update our existing light-cycle recycling program (HB 1185), *test PFAs in biosolids (aka sludge) and set pollutant limits (SB 5245),
  • Study recycling of wind turbine blades (SB 5287) (Hot off the presses: passed off senate floor on Monday February 27!),
  • Reduce toxic chemicals in cosmetics (HB 1047),
  • Set limits for PCBs in inks and pigments (SB 5369),
  • Exempt certain reusable packaging from taxes(HB 1422),
  • Speed up the process to remove derelict vessels, an important marine debris problem (SB 5192),
  • Clean up large highway debris (SB 5178),
  • Promote Washington manufacturing jobs, including the circular economy(SB 5269), and
  • Provide incentives for recycling railroad materials (HB 1371).

Tracking bills

You can find out more details about these zero waste-related bills and track their status at our legislative webpage

Thank you all for your help in moving important zero waste bills forward. If you have any questions, please contact Heather at

You’re invited: Annual Legislative Tea, March 5

We hope you will join us for a lively discussion about the exciting zero waste bills making their way through our state legislature. Are you puzzling over the implementation, mechanics, or science behind these policies?

You’re Invited!

Zero Waste Washington’s

Annual Legislative Tea

Sunday, March 5, 2023

3-4:30 pm

Via zoom

Please register so we can send you the zoom link:

or email:


Come and hang out with people who share your passion for protecting Washington’s environment and learn about the meaningful bills Zero Waste Washington, legislators, and our partners are pursuing to reduce waste and improve recycling in Washington.

Help needed #2: We are moving!

We have exciting news! We are moving to a new location in the SoDo area of Seattle on March 1st. It will be a combination warehouse space for the new furniture project AND our new office. We are thrilled to be able to have space to carry out our hands-on projects.

Work parties: We will be scheduling work parties on weekends in March to help spruce up and paint our new space.

Conference table, table desks and a color printer/scanner: In the spirit of reuse and repurposing, if you have access to a free conference table or desks, we would be interested. We are looking for a glass top conference table and “table” style desks. The look of the new space is industrial chic! We also need a color printer that can also scan.

If you would like to come help at the work party or have a line on a conference table, table desks, or a printer/scanner please email Michelle at

Small nonprofits seeking co-sharing office space: If you know of any small nonprofits with minimal office needs who are looking to move to a shared open-style office, we would love to know. Please email Heather at

Zero Waste Gardening

By Ashley Whitley, Outreach/Education/Policy Coordinator

Spring is quickly approaching and it is almost time to grow our favorite fruits, vegetables and flowers at home and in our community gardens. Gardening can be one of the most zero waste activities you do, from avoiding all that store packaging on store-bought produce, to composting, to repurposing containers for garden needs.

I learned from my grandfather

I would say that my gardening skills are beginner at best, but I love the feeling of cooking with a vegetable or herb that I grew myself. My grandfather used to say that gardening is good for the soul, and I have to agree.

I had to learn the hard way that research helps. Last spring, I purchased a raised garden bed and attempted to grow a variety of different fruits and vegetables without doing much investigating. Some of my plants survived but my strawberry plants withered and were eventually composted. I now know that I should have been watering them more and should have moved them to a location with more sun. Accidents happen, but researching before attempting to grow something new in your garden can save your plant and reduce waste.

When I am gardening, I feel more connected to myself and the environment. And there are many ways of being zero-waste as we grow the plants we love.

Tips for zero waste gardening

Tool libraries have garden tools!

Instead of buying new tools, especially specialized tools, consider reducing waste by borrowing tools from a local tool library or borrowing from a friend. You can borrow lawn mowers, chain saws, clippers, fork diggers, and more. There are many existing tool libraries around the state and more coming online all the time. Interesting stat: the number one tool borrowed from the Tacoma tool library is a weed wacker!

To see a full list of tool libraries in Washington State please visit our repair economy website.

Here are some examples of what tool libraries have:

  • The Tacoma Tool Library has large and small gardening tools including bulb planters, wheelbarrows, and shovels of all sizes.
  • The Ballard Tool Library has a wide selection of gardening tools available such as fruit pickers, trimmers, and cultivators.
  • The Vashon Tool Library lists 286 tools for yard and garden and includes such items as pole hedge trimmers, come alongs, and fence post drivers!

Ditch the plastic seed starting trays

Many of the seed starting trays and planting pots that you find at your local nursery are made out of plastic. You can save money and create less waste by using plastic free alternatives that you might already have in your home. You can make your own containers using items such as cardboard toilet paper rolls, paper bags, burlap sacks, or napkins. Or even eggshells!

Grow plants from food scraps

You can use the seeds from your food scraps to grow new plants in your garden. However, one of my favorite ways of growing new plants is through propagation. There is something so satisfying about taking a cutting from one plant and using it to create another. Instead of throwing your food scraps away, you can use them to create more plants for your garden by placing them in a jar of water until they grow new roots.

This propagation technique can be used on a variety of different plants but will work especially well for vegetables and herbs such as lettuce, basil, rosemary, celery, and green onions.

Seed Sharing

Seed packets often come with more seeds than you will need for one season. Mature plants in your garden might also start producing seeds, leaving you with an overabundance. Instead of throwing the excess seeds away you could save them for next year or you can share them with other gardeners in your community. You can share seeds through online community groups of seed sharing libraries.

Un-Bee-Leaf-Able Seed Library at the Everett Public Library (Photo: Everett Herald)



Backyard composting

As you all know, composting is the ultimate zero waste activity. You are diverting organic waste from the landfill (where it rots and generates methane, a greenhouse gas much more potent than CO2) and it preserves essential nutrients for soil health. There are many different ways of composting at home. Using a wormery is an easy and popular option.

My parents use a wormery for the compost in their backyard gardens. They recently used the compost in their zucchini garden and suddenly started growing cantaloupes. They were shocked at first when the delicious mystery melons sprouted in their backyard but quickly realized that it must have been a seed from the compost. We learned that surprise fruits and vegetables are another benefit of home composting!

To learn more about composting at home visit the EPA composting at home guide.

Keeping weeds at bay

Instead of using pesticides or plastic mulch or sheeting, you can use items from your home and yard. Save money and avoid fossil fuels all at once.

  • Wood chips are great to use because they help conserve water and insulate your soil. You can likely get a wood chipper from your local tool library. And some cities have free wood chip giveaways.
  • Wet newspapers work well, and are biodegradable. Water can seep through to plant roots.
  • Cardboard can be an option to help tamp down weeds. It might block water, however, so you may need to work around that. But cardboard attracts worms and so this can create your own wormery and associated benefits!


Help needed #3: Furniture fixers, furniture, and supplies

By Xenia Dolovova, Waste Reduction Programs Director

We are so excited to share that we are moving! The furniture fix-it program is moving forward and with our own physical space, we foresee a whole new ball game for our rescue-repair-donate effort in the near future.

Furniture repair is a heavy-duty venture. Literally. For the past 6 months we searched far and wide to find a space where we could accept furniture donations, store them, and be a workshop space where our amazing volunteers do repair and refurbishment magic. Our new space in Seattle’s SODO neighborhood used to be a cabinet manufacturing shop and is now being converted into a creativity hub that supports like-minded makers.

Looking for volunteers and furniture

We will commence furniture collection and furniture repairs in March. We are now ready again to accept damaged furniture! Critically important is that the furniture be the desired furniture for the refugee families we are serving, so please check the list on the donation link below.

If you have any furniture to donate and can drop it in SODO, please fill out this form:

We also are seeking volunteers to help clean, refurbish, stain/paint, and generally spruce up the furniture. It is a lot of fun!

If you want to volunteer, please fill out this form. No skills needed!

Do you have repair supplies and tools to donate?

We are also looking for various tools, stains, paints, equipment, and supplies to support the furniture repair program. If you have any of the below items, or other items you think we can use, please email Xenia at



If you want to say hi or share other ideas, email Xenia at

Help needed #4: Cut up plastics

On Fridays in March, we are prepping samples for our phthalates study. This may sound daunting, but actually, it means using scissors and other stainless-steel tools to cut plastic products into small pieces. It is easy and fun! We will be gathering at the King County environmental lab on Nickerson in Seattle. No experience necessary and we will provide all the needed supplies.

Phthalates are a family of chemicals that we find in everyday products. They are used to hold fragrance or to make plastic flexible (think: rubber ducks). They are, however, produced using toxic chemicals that harm reproductive health of humans and wildlife. In this project, funded by a grant from Ecology via the National Estuary Project, we are sampling outdoor products that may contain phthalates.

If you would like to join us and help cut up products for a few hours on Fridays in March, please email Ashley at You will need to dress warmly.

PreCycle 2023: Startup businesses and student teams invited to apply by March 13

By Xenia Dolovova, Waste Reduction Programs Director

The PreCycle Innovation Challenge is an annual circular innovation bootcamp and competition hosted by Zero Waste Washington in partnership with Seattle Good Business Network.

This competition and bootcamp is open to regional, early-stage startups that are working to advance Washington’s circular, regenerative, and just economy through innovative products or services.

2023 program

This year, teams and individuals will compete in two tracks (ideation and development) based on the advancement of their project. The 6-week program includes educational and hands-on workshops, mentorship, 1-on-1 assistance, and resources.

The program will culminate in a day-long virtual Innovation Summit on May 15, 2023, showcasing existing regional circular innovation initiatives from around the state along with pitches from the finalist teams. Winners receive cash prizes while all teams are offered continuing assistance to support the success of their circular projects.

The deadline for applications is March 13, 2023. To apply, visit

PreCycle info session: March 1

To reduce application barriers and meet interested folks in a casual setting, we’re hosting an online info session and application walkthrough on March 1, 4pm PST. Attendees will be able to hear more about the program, ask questions, and even get their application submitted!

Register to receive a Zoom link here:–urzIqG93mTcFssiziH_QgrgEUBXqw

NextCycle Washington – Pitch Showcase: March 23

Zero Waste Washington is supporting NextCycle Washington. Please join us for the first NextCycle Washington Pitch Showcase on March 23, at the University of Washington, Seattle campus. This event is the culmination of our partner NextCycle’s Circular Accelerator program and features 14 teams made up of entrepreneurial businesses, non-profits, and community organizations. These teams have received six months of circular economy business and technical support, mentoring, and planning to accelerate their project to a stage ready for investment and implementation.

Teams will deliver a pitch, summarizing their projects which focus on waste prevention, material repair, reuse, recycling, composting, or end use that will advance the circular economy in Washington state. An expert judging panel will select the top performing teams to receive cash prizes presented at an award ceremony to close out the event. Learn more and register for this FREE event:

If you have questions about PreCycle, please email Xenia at

Help needed #5: Fix-it Fair, Seattle, March 18

By Kami Bruner, Waste Reduction Program Manager

You are invited to the next fix it fair on March 18

The next Seattle Fix-it Fair will be held on March 18th from 2-5 pm at Greenwood Senior Center, in partnership with Phinney Neighborhood Association and Phinney Tool Library. Bring your items (clothing, furniture, electronics, jewelry and more) for repair and good community.

If you’d like to find out more about the March 18th event, RSVP to bring something for repair, or sign up to be a fixer or volunteer for these events, visit our project page:

October’s Fix-It Fair pulsed with energy

Last fall’s Fix-it Fair hosted by Seattle Makers was a smashing success, drawing well over 100 repair-seekers before the close of the event! Our fixers worked on blenders, bikes, miter saws, mobile devices, pants, pillow cases, necklaces, espresso machines, and so much more. We even fixed a door!

Trane brought in two pairs of garden clippers for repair but was skeptical at the outset. However, with the help of Wayne (Phinney Fixer Collective) and Colin (a volunteer with Ballard Tool Library), her fears quickly dissolved. She let us know that “the gentlemen that were the sharpening team were fantastic, not to mention knowledgeable, and quick! They have inspired me to buy my own sharpening ‘kit’.”


Tough projects got fixed

Lynn, a Fix-it Fair champion, brought in her beloved Breville espresso maker. “It’s a $250 dollar machine!” But it wasn’t working and despite Lynn’s diligent efforts to repair it with the help of YouTube she was ultimately frustrated. “…so, I brought it here. A man helped me unscrew this [a bent metal plate]. We did it together and then put on the plastic band. Now I have another five to ten years to enjoy it! It’s not just about the money. It’s about fixing it rather than wasting. We need to get away from our disposable society! “

It is a community event

It’s not just the attendees who benefit from Fix-it Fairs. The fixers and volunteers reap rewards too – if not in tangible terms. Here are some of their comments:

“I had a lot of fun (and learned a lot – thanks Bruce and Michael) on Saturday, so looking forward to more events!” – Sara

“Thanks for a great day!! It was exhilarating today to be part of the Fix it Fair! And I can only imagine now that the pandemic is finding its way out, these are going to be really busy! 🙂 Love the work that all of you are doing at Zero Waste Washington! The Zero Waste Washington volunteering spaces made me feel like I have one step towards a community in Seattle, which I deeply missed, being away from my own! So, more than grateful! :)” – Monisha


But in some cases, fixers got help of the tangible kind too! Case in point: Jody (“the zipper whiz”) is great at mending fabric items. Chet, not so much. Though Chet’s got amazing skills in electrical/mechanical, he didn’t know what to do to fix his friend’s backpack. Thankfully, Jody did! Ultimately, Fix-it Fairs are about helping and empowering each other. We all have skills to share, and we can all use a hand with things we’re less than confident about doing on our own. Thankfully, there are a lot of hands in the growing repair movement, ready and willing to lift each other up.



If you’d like to find out more about the March 18 Fix-It Fair, RSVP to bring something for repair, or sign up to be a fixer or volunteer for this or future events, visit our project page: For more information and if you have suggestions, please contact Kami at

All of these programs would not happen without you! Please join Zero Waste Washington and support us with your tax deductible gift.

Please show your support by donating to Zero Waste Washington! As we move into our next 40 years, your gift enables us to continue working to make Washington State’s waterways, communities and the air we breathe healthy and waste free.

Today is the time to make recycling easier and more effective! We are advocating for legislative bills to improve our state’s recycling system and reduce plastic waste, make it so you can conveniently and safely dispose of your batteries, more easily fix your electronics, and more. We are also working on bills to reduce plastic pollution and litter and build up our repair economy in Washington. Your contribution will help make these activities, and so much more, possible.

Please join this effort and donate today!

Zero Waste Washington cannot do this work without you. Thanks for joining us!

Donate here

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