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.

Big Battery Bill Passes!

With the 2023 Washington State legislative session completed and just a few bills left for the governor to sign, we want to fill you in about how the zero waste bills fared. Legislative work occurs year-round with on-going policy development and stakeholder outreach, and it all comes to a crescendo on the final day of session, which was April 12 this year. Thank you to all of our terrific partners and to all of you for making this year another success.

Battery bill!

While our priority bill, The WRAP Act, which would have modernized our recycling system and incentivized waste reduction, did not advance, a big, bad, battery bill did!  This is SB5144, and, once signed by the governor, Washington will be assured of having the best-in-class battery program in the US. It covers all battery types and will bring free recycling at convenient dropoff locations to you, including hardware and other stores as well as local hazardous waste dropoff stations.

A big thank you to Senator Derek Stanford who led the charge on the battery bill and to Representative Chipalo Street who shepherded the bill in the House. Passage of this bill will help reduce fires caused by improper disposal of batteries in the waste stream. (When lithium-ion batteries get crushed or ‘dinged’ they can cause serious fires in our recycling and garbage trucks and facilities)

Battery manufacturers will cover the cost of responsibly recycling batteries, including funding local government staff costs (which has been a burden for local governments to date since  batteries require special handling). The program will also include extensive education across the state for residents and businesses. Batteries contain important metals such as lithium, nickel, and cobalt which can be recycled into new batteries and other products.

Additional Key Zero Waste Highlights of the 2023 Legislative Session:

  • Reducing Plastic Pollution (HB 1085), championed by Representative Sharlett Mena, requires water refill stations in all new construction wherever a water faucet is required in our state’s building code. It bans mini-toiletries such as shampoo, hand soap and lotions in hotels and other lodging establishments. And finally, styrofoam docks and floats that are wrapped in flimsy plastic will be banned and WA Department of Fish and Wildlife will do a study of the foam-filled floats with hard-shell plastic coverings (these have only 1/8 inch thick walls!). The photo at the top of this page is the bill signing on April 20!
  • Compostable Products (HB 1033). We have a patchwork of rules across the state about what you can put in your compost bin and also what compostable products are accepted by different commercial composters. Everyone is confused! This bill, led by Representative Amy Walen, creates a taskforce that would examine the topic and make policy recommendations to the legislators so that we can move quickly toward developing a statewide policy.
  • Recycling Wind Turbine Blades (SB 5287). Led by Senator Wilson, this bill directs Washington State University extension energy program to conduct a study on the feasibility of recycling wind turbine blades installed in Washington that generate electricity for distribution to customers in Washington.
  • Petition to USEPA to strengthen PCB regs (SB 5369). Led by Senator Billig, this bill directs Ecology to petition the EPA to reassess its PCB regulations under the Toxic Substances Control Act and to establish restrictions on the use of PCBs previously considered “inadvertent” in consumer products.
  • WA Manufacturing (SB 5269) championed by Senator Shewmake, this bill requires Commerce to complete, by October 1, 2024, an independent assessment of WA manufacturing related to the transition to net-zero emissions by 2050, including identifying opportunities to build and maximize the environmental and economic benefits of a circular economy for both new and existing industries in building out and strengthening Washington’s manufacturing base.
  • WRAP Act Budget Proviso (SB 5187). While the WRAP Act did not advance, the final budget includes a $500,000 budget proviso that requires ecology to conduct two studies:
    • Conduct a recycling, reuse, and source reduction targets study; and
    • Carry out a community input process on the state’s recycling system that focuses on eliciting an improved understanding of public values and opinions related to the state’s recycling system, the current public experience with respect to the state’s recycling systems, and ways the public believes that their recycling experience and system outcomes could be improved.


Stay tuned for next year!  Appliance recycling and light bulb recycling bills will be back. The cannabis waste bill will likely be back. And a big organics (yard and food waste) bill is being developed (Part II, taking the next steps beyond 2022’s HB1799).

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

You are invited: PreCycle Innovation Summit May 15 (on zoom)

In partnership with the Seattle Good Business Network, we invite you to the PreCycle Innovation Summit on May 15, 11am to 3:30 pm PDT (virtual). You will learn about exciting new projects in Washington and up and down the west coast advancing Washington’s circular economy through government-initiated reuse projects. Hear the details about the new Reuse Seattle. Worried about all that good wood being dumped in our landfills? Come hear about two innovative King County pilot projects tackling wood.

Presenters include:

  • Senator Joe Nguyen, WA 34th Legislative District: Supporting Washington’s Circular Economy
  • McKenna Morrigan, Waste Prevention and Product Stewardship Policy Advisor, Seattle Public Utilities, Reuse Seattle: Bringing a Citywide Reusable Foodservice Ware System to Life, a comprehensive backbone project so that large venues (think Woodland Park Zoo Tunes and other music venues) and eventually local restaurants can provide food and drink in reusable dishware.
  • Briana Zhen, Environmental Operations Specialist, San Francisco International Airport: SFO Unites Against Hunger, an innovative food reuse program.
  • Alex Erzen, Program Manager King County Solid Waste Division: Don’t Waste Good Wood, two pilot projects to divert wood and wood pallets from landfills.
  • Jules Bailey, President and CEO of Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative (OBRC): Oregon’s BottleDrop Refill: Successes, challenges, and lessons learned from America’s only statewide refillable program.
  • Kinley Deller, C&D Program Manager, King County Solid Waste Division: A comprehensive strategy to save our valuable construction wood, Building Wood Back into New Buildings.
  • Karen Storry, Senior Engineer, Metro Vancouver (BC): Interception Pilot of Reusable Items at the transfer station.

The Pacific NW is full of entrepreneurs, researchers, and agencies who are helping lead the nation with their innovative ideas to reduce waste and create a circular economy.

Innovation Summit registration

The innovation summit is free, but you must register to receive the Zoom link. If you are unable to attend on the 15th, please register so you can receive the recordings of the individual presentations afterward in a follow-up email. Learn more and RSVP here:

Innovation Challenge finals – Witness the next generation of startups who will change the way we think of waste

The summit coincides with the 2023 PreCycle Innovation Challenge finals. The challenge is a competition for business start-up and student teams which developed business plans and pitches. Three-minute videos from the 5 finalist teams (in two tracks) will be presented during the Summit. The teams will briefly answer questions from a live panel of judges and the final event of the day will be the awarding of honors by the judge team. These top team presentations (videos) are the inspiring culmination of the effort of 36 teams that participated in a six week program which included mentoring and technical workshops. Winning teams will receive cash prizes.

Teams are also invited to apply to a partner NextCycle Washington program, which will start later this summer. NextCycle Washington supports businesses, community-based organizations, and individuals with circular businesses or projects impacting Washington State by providing mentoring, networking, and access to funding pathways.

Thank you to the sponsors!

Funded in part by the WA State Department of Ecology. Funding also provided by the Washington State Microenterprise Association (WSMA) thanks to a grant made by the Washington State Department of Commerce.

Looking forward to seeing you on May 15!

For any questions and suggestions, please contact Xenia Dolovova at

Zero waste stores on the rise

Alex Luna of Vancouver’s Kindred Homestead Supply

By Michelle Alten-Kaehler, Development Coordinator

More and more zero waste stores are springing up across the US, including in Washington. As people are finding that purging plastic from their daily lives gets harder, these shops have answers for us.   While it seems like everything is encased in plastic, from our morning cereal to afternoon coffee or tea, entrepreneurs like Alex Luna of Vancouver’s Kindred Homestead Supply and Heather Williams of Mimi’s Zero Waste Market in Seattle are helping to solve this consumer conundrum. They are making shopping for eco-friendly products easier and saying good-bye to excessive plastic packaging.

We interviewed Alex and Heather to find out more about their stores and offerings.

Lotions and Potions

Mimi’s and Kindred, along with other low-waste shops, offer a plethora of zero waste products—often locally sourced. So instead of cringing at another non-recyclable shampoo bottle, buyers now have other clever options. Shelves are stocked with tooth tabs, a solid form of tooth paste that comes in a jar, plant-based granules that enable you to mix your own shampoo, and deodorant and lip balm that come in compostable tubes.

Instead of plastic…

Luna and Williams steer consumers away from plastic. Instead, their products are sold in glass, cardboard, or even no packaging at all. Williams explains Mimi’s strategy, “We know plastic is harmful from beginning to end. It breaks down into microplastics and storing food in it is problematic. We want to support people in finding alternatives.”

Have you wondered what to do about nylon dental floss sold in a throw-away plastic container? Both markets offer 100% biodegradable, compostable floss, as well as other personal-care products like loofa sponges, and even tree-loving bamboo toilet paper.

Heather Williams of Mimi’s Zero Waste Market in Seattle, and her daughter

Bulk it up

At Mimi’s and Kindred, customers are encouraged to bring their own containers for bulk shopping—reused of course—to avoid unnecessary packaging. Forgot yours? You are welcome to take a container from their jar libraries. The shops provide scales with an RFID system to ‘tare’ or zero out the weight of the container, so it’s easy to purchase the quantity you would like.

Mimi’s offers personal care products in bulk, as well as a wide range of cooking and baking ingredients, from flour to herbs and spices. Williams points out another benefit to avoiding layers of plastic wrapping—shoppers can enjoy a multi-sensory experience. “When customers walk into the store, they notice how good it smells. They can see the beautiful food in the jars. It’s possible to  touch and smell what you are buying. This provides a connection to food not often found in conventional shopping.”

Kindred offers soaps, shampoos, conditioners, even air fresheners, in bulk. When Luna had started making her own products, she discovered that it took a lot of time and work. She realized that bulk items could offer accessibility and affordability to a lot of folks. And for those with the time and inclination, she carries a variety of bulk ingredients, ranging from citric acid and bentonite clay to baking soda and Epsom salts to create their own detoxing and soothing skincare products.

Learning Together

At a variety of events and creative workshops, Kindred offers a chance to learn zero-waste skills like infusing herbs and oils, salve making, composting and mending—skills that can foster sustainability. “Mending is a great way to keep clothes out of the waste stream and save dollars,” Luna explains. But in addition to sharing useful knowledge and maker tricks, Kindred also offers a community and opportunity to connect with others.

“My vision for Kindred is about bringing people together,” Luna explains. “Since the early days of Covid, it’s been a rough couple of years. There is a huge need for not just healing our planet but people as well.” Luna sees her table as a healing place where people of different walks of life and generations can gather to learn, question, and discover.

It is not easy, but it is worth it

Running a truly zero or low-waste retail business is challenging. Shopkeepers need to purchase their bulk items in large containers, sometimes in plastic drums. “I try to buy in drums that can be recycled or used for water,” Luna explains. “Or I get items in buckets that I can reuse or send back to get refilled.”

One wonders how much impact all this effort can really make. Does zero-waste shopping truly make a difference? Williams believes it does. Her tare system tells her that, since it opened 19 months ago, the shop has saved 7,479 single-use containers—containers that might have gone into landfills or waterways. One more step towards purging the plastic.

Zero waste stores and options across the state

Check out Zero Waste Washington’s webpage to find out addresses and information for zero waste options across the state, including groceries with good bulk sections:

Michelle is a serious zero waste devotee and is always on the lookout for new zero waste innovations and shops.

Cleaning up Litter in South Puget Sound

By Ashley Whitley, Outreach/Education/Policy Coordinator

This spring and summer, Zero Waste Washington will be focusing on litter cleanup events in the South Puget Sound (Tacoma and south). Spending a few hours cleaning up litter can make a huge difference for our waterways and wildlife. Each piece of litter that is collected is one less hazard for our local ecosystems. After the cleanup, we will be organizing the litter into categories and conducting a litter assessment.

These litter assessments provide important data that can be used to show pollution problem areas and how pollution in a specific area has changed over time.

How can you help?

Individuals: We are looking for people who would like to volunteer to clean up litter at our events. If you live in the South Sound area and are interested in helping out, please let us know.

Groups: We would like to partner with groups doing litter cleanups in the South Sound. Please reach out if you know of any groups that might be interested.

Locations: If there is a location in the South Sound that you think needs a litter cleanup, let us know and we can add it to our list.

For more info or to share ideas, please contact Ashley at 

“You can’t break what’s already broke!”

By Kami Bruner, Waste Reduction Program Manager

 This is the mantra of our local Phinney Neighborhood Fixer Collective. We see a lot of things come into community repair events. And it’s heartwarming to be able to return so many items to service.

What are most popular items brought in? Many lamps, tons of toys (sometimes mechanical, sometimes stuffed), toasters and tools, bikes and bags, necklaces and knives, and the mending! All the mending! From patching up the blown-out butts of those favorite jeans to delicately mending (visibly) over holes chewed by pesky wool moths, plus many, many zippers.

Most items get fixed at repair events!

As one of our recent volunteers reflected, “It was really interesting to see what kind of items that folks brought in (some folks are really optimistic!).” And generally speaking, when fixers have the parts and supplies, these events have a pretty impressive rate of repair – somewhere around 85%!

Jody, our “Zipper Wizard”

And yes, sometimes, even a door.

Mitre saw? We saw that fixed!

We even fixed Greenwood Senior Center’s coffee pot that’s used for their hot meal program. Now that’s a worthy service!

Not everything gets fixed

But no, we can’t fix it all. Manufacturers are sadly still getting away with planned obsolescence (though they’d never admit to it). From gluing components together, rather than using fasteners; to not making spare parts, tools, and manuals available, sometimes our fixers’ hands are tied. It’s not that designers and manufacturers necessarily want their products to go to the landfill, but many would like us to purchase their newest items, preferably as frequently as possible. It’s the way our economy has been designed — valuing goods made and consumed over other more sustainable measures of well-being.

But there are other ways, and this is what links feel-good fixing to the bigger picture work that Zero Waste Washington and our partners do. To change this dangerous trajectory, we need better policy, and we need all the players onboard. Insisting on manufacturing practices like design for durability and repairability are essential. And legislation like Right to Repair is going to be critical to a healthy, more equitable future where we both have the things we need but don’t have to coexist with overflowing landfills and toxic chemicals in our environment.

And thanks to Fix-it Fairs and the many similar efforts around the state and around the world (Fix-it Clinics, Repair Cafés, and the like), more folks are not only keeping their items out of landfills but are consuming more conscientiously and demanding that we do things differently to insure that healthier, more equitable future.

If you have ideas for repair activities and more, please email Kami at

Furniture volunteers needed (it is easy and fun) ..... and Furniture flippers sought

By Xenia Dolovova, Waste Reduction Programs Director

 We are so excited! Soon we will open the doors of our new warehouse/workshop space that will allow us to rescue furniture, repair it, and provide it to people in need all in one place. This unique location in the SODO area of Seattle features a painting box with a super powerful exhaust system, mobile workstations, and room for upholstery and other non-dusty repair work.

Repair events and activities starting soon

We will host ongoing repair activities, as well as special repair events, at the warehouse. These will be engaging community events where we collectively work on furniture items. We will have dedicated weekly shifts and “open hours” for volunteers to just pop in and out to work on repairing furniture. We hope to see you there.

Volunteering with the program will provide you with an opportunity to:

  • Learn various methods of working with wood and upholstered items, from the very beginning to more advanced (As a note: we also really need volunteers to do simple tasks from cleaning furniture, to sanding and staining);
  • Practice and develop skills;
  • Connect with a community of like-minded people; and
  • Have fun and create a tremendous impact on our waste stream and the lives of recent refugee families.

We are always looking to expand our list of volunteers and folks who want to get involved. No experience or skills needed!

Looking for furniture flippers

The overarching goal of our effort is to achieve a state where no furniture is being thrown to the landfill. We are doing it by building program repair processes, creating an opportunity for program volunteers to develop repair skills and to refurbish their own furniture, and building infrastructure to support others to grow Washington’s resiliency and repair capacity.

We would love to interview you

We are now looking for established furniture flippers, for aspiring folks who do not know where to start, those who flipped a few items and got stuck, those who are getting into flipping and considering making it a full-time business, and also successful furniture re-builders who are growing their furniture business.

We are conducting anonymous 20-minute interviews with you mighty individuals to learn about your work and how we can help furniture flippers with infrastructure and resources. Together we can re-build even more!

Please email Xenia ( and indicate your interest in an interview or forward this request to others who might be interested.

To help with either project, or if you want to say hi or share other ideas, please email Xenia at

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

And big thanks to all of you who donated via GiveBIG!

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 waste reduction and recycling easier and more effective! Your contribution will help make zero waste 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

Zero Waste Washington

816 Second Avenue, Suite 200 * Seattle, WA * 98104

(206) 441-1790

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