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.

Photo above:  Governor Jay Inslee signing the Organics Bill (HB2301), March 28, 2024

Legislative successes 2024

The 2024 legislative session was challenging, with many of the legislators up for re-election in November, big voter initiatives pending (more on those below), and more…. And yet, we had some big zero waste successes. With enormous thanks to our amazing legislative champions, our many terrific and hard-working partners, and your help, several big bills made it across the finish line, as well as some others we supported. Here is the recap.

Good news: Bills signed into Law

Organics (compost and food donation) (SB 6180)

Championed by Representative Beth Doglio and Senator John Lovick, the new Organics Law mandates compost collection (i.e., source separation of food scraps and yard waste) by single family residents in urbanized areas of the state starting in 2030! It also creates grant programs and a technical workgroup to help increase donation of edible food to food banks. Overall, it is critical that we get food waste out of the landfill so that it won’t rot and create methane gas and instead get it to hungry people or into compost bins creating needed healthy soils. See photo at the top of the page of Governor Inslee signing the bill on March 28.

Mercury light bulbs (HB 1185)

Representative David Hackney led the charge for a bill that bans general use mercury light bulbs starting in 2029 and extends our existing light-cycle law to 2035. This law will now be funded by manufacturers. It is important for these bulbs to be safely recycled because toxic mercury vapor in light bulbs can impact solid waste workers and others when they break. And by transitioning to LED bulbs residents and businesses will save energy and money.

Lead in cookware (HB 1551)

Led by Representative Pollet and supported by Public Health – Seattle & King County, this new law bans the sale of cookware containing lead or lead compounds at a level of more than five parts per million in or into Washington. Unfortunately, imported pots and pans from some countries contain high levels of lead which can leach into and contaminate food during cooking. The law takes effect January 1, 2025, and applies to all cookware or cookware components.

UW DEOHS MS student Yoni Rodriguez tests an aluminum cookpot as part of a study about lead in imported cookware. At right is a typical Afghan pressure cooker. Photos: King County Haz Waste Program

Cannabis waste (SB 5376)

Sponsored by Senator Stanford, SB-5376 aims to reduce the amount of cannabis waste being sent to Washington landfills. This law allows cannabis cultivators and processors to sell their plant material with 0.3% THC or less to the general public by making compost or hemp products. Currently cannabis waste is required to be blended 50/50 with other materials such as kitty litter or sawdust when sent to the landfill which is expensive for growers and adds methane gas to the atmosphere.

Two other zero waste-related bills passed: HB2207, led by Rep. Ramos, updates the fines which can be levied for illegal dumping and now distributes restitution payment between the landowner where the waste was littered, and the law enforcement agency investigating the incident.

SB 5931, led by Sen. Salomon, addresses 6-PDD, the “forever chemical,” in motor vehicle tires. Replacement tires will now be added to Ecology’s Safer Products law. 6-PDD from tire particles that shed off of tires washed directly into streams and rivers where the chemical is linked to urban runoff mortality syndrome, a condition where Coho salmon die prior to spawning.

Not so good news: Bills that did not make it this year… (but will come back next year!)

The WRAP Act (HB 2049)

The Re-WRAP Act (HB 2049), championed by Rep. Liz Berry, advanced mightily with much negotiation…. but didn’t get off the House floor in the critical time crunch of the key cutoff. This comprehensive bill aims to modernize our recycling system in Washington. Look for this bill to return next January!

Right to Repair (SB 6276 / HB 1933)

Championed by Representative Gregerson and Senator Derek Stanford. This bill would require digital electronic product manufacturers, such as Apple and Microsoft, and manufacturers of wheelchairs, appliances, and tractors, to make repair information, parts and tools available to independent repair businesses and owners. Many other states have now passed versions of Right to Repair, including the latest – Oregon!

Refrigerant recycling (HB 2401)

Sponsored and led by Representative Beth Duerr, this bill would create a producer responsibility program for refrigerant gases, including a bounty to incentivize service technicians to capture and turn in the gas, rather than vent it to the atmosphere. These gases in HVAC systems, refrigerators, heat pumps and more, are much, much more potent greenhouse gases than CO2.

Other bills that we expect back in 2025 include EV Battery Recycling (SB 6319 / HB 2501) championed by Sen Derek Stanford and Rep. Chipalo Street, a Bottle Bill (HB 2144) led by Rep. Stonier, a bill aimed at improving Tire Efficiency (HB 2262/SB 6304) championed by Rep. Street and Sen. Liias, Promoting Organic Agriculture (SB 6278–) led by Sen. Liias, and Disclosure and Tracking of Fashion Impacts (HB 2068 / SB 5965) championed by Rep. Mena and Sen. Nguyen.

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

Zero waste at Wildfire camps: you won't want to miss this

Please join us for Zero Waste Washington’s Speaker Series:  Zero waste at wildfire camps, Hannah Johnson, 5-6 pm, June 18 (zoom)

In response to massive wildfires across the Western US, large base camps where firefighters and management personnel work, eat, and sleep are established in rural communities.  These sites have been the source of massive amounts of waste from both day to day management and food service operations.  Hannah Johnson, Zero Waste Washington board member and founder of Perennial Zero Waste, has come to the rescue.

For the past five years, she and her team have gone in to U.S. Forest Service fire camps to set up full zero waste systems, including recycling, composting, and waste reduction. This work has centered around developing relationships with the local community businesses such as farmers, food banks, and recycling facilities to divert waste from landfills. The photos of before and after are amazing!  They show piles and piles of throw-aways, and massive heaps of food waste (firefighters eat over 2000 calories per meal!). Through waste audits and a range of innovative and creative problem solving, Hannah and her team have helped to redirect over 600,000 lbs of waste from landfills while making sure our vital firefighters are well taken care of.

Perennial Zero Waste also designs and executes zero waste events and works with large corporations to implement zero waste programs and achieve USGBC certifications such as LEED and TRUE.


  • Zero Waste Speaker Series:  Zero waste at wildfire camps, Hannah Johnson
  • Tuesday, June 18, 5-6 pm
  • Via zoom
  • RSVP (event is free, please rsvp to receive zoom link): 

Questions:  Please contact Michelle at

Hannah Johnson will be the first speaker in our 2024 Zero Waste Speaker Series. Our fall speakers will be announced in our summer newsletter. Stay tuned!


We need you.

Zero Waste Washington’s commitment to tackle the tough waste, recycling, plastics, toxic chemicals and consumption issues is stronger than ever. Together with all of our members and partners, we work tirelessly to drive policy change for a healthy and waste-free world. You can help us reach our goals in 2024 and beyond!

As you know, GiveBIG is our region’s largest online giving event celebrating community and our collective generosity.

Zero Waste Washington’s work is more important than ever, and we ask that you show your support by scheduling a donation now!

Click this link to schedule your GiveBIG gift

Thank you for your gift.


Mobile refilleries and shops helping you go zero waste

By Michelle Alten-Kaehler, Membership Coordinator

As a child, Aline Bloch spent time at her grandmother’s home in the French countryside of Champagne. The remote stone farmhouse, surrounded by agricultural fields, was far from a village. There was no baker. No butcher. No grocer. “It was in the middle of nowhere,” Bloch explains. One morning each week she woke to hear the toot of a little truck, announcing its arrival as it rumbled down the road. She scurried out the front door to find her grandmother purchasing groceries from a merchant, who pulled steaks, vegetables, and farm-fresh milk from his shop on wheels. Bloch was captivated!

Out of the Box comes to you

Years later, here in Washington, concerned about waste and single-use plastic, Bloch had an idea: she could have her own little truck. She started Out of the Box, a mobile refillery that delivers sustainable home and personal care products, refilled into customers’ bottles. Today Bloch and other entrepreneurs are providing ways to help you reduce your plastic-packaging footprint.

With her plucky white van, Bloch delivers her eco-friendly products, ranging from toothpaste tablets to body washes to laundry and hand soap. Customers place their orders online, then put their reusable bottles at the door for refilling, or they purchase reusable containers. Bloch also has a pop-up shop on Front Street in Issaquah until the end of June. She also offers parties that give friends and neighbors an opportunity to discover plastic-free products and a new way of shopping.

Kind and Plenty Sustainable Pantry focuses on food

While Bloch works to reduce single-use plastic for personal and home products, another entrepreneur is offering similar solutions for your groceries. Also in King County, Sukhada Palkar, a software engineer, has launched Kind and Plenty Sustainable Pantry. This shop on the go provides quality, local, organic, unprocessed food to people’s doorsteps. Products include flour, oats, legumes, nuts, snacks, spices, and more, all from the West Coast.

Frustrated by all the bags and plastic packaging in her kitchen pantry, Palkar started her business four months ago. She provides paper bags, compostable pouches, or returnable glass jars with deposits. Customers can place their orders online or by phone. Palkar fills each order with fresh products and delivers it directly to customers’ homes.

One step at a time

Aline Bloch and Sukhada Palkar seek to inspire shoppers to reduce plastic pollution: one bottle or package at a time. Bloch likes to say, “Individual commitments lead to collective impact.” She is pleased to point out that her business has saved over 13,000 plastic bottles from entering the landfill.

Palkar explains that her customers not only can get fresher food that has not been sitting in plastic for months, but that they can also get a good feeling from reducing their use of plastic. If you feel overwhelmed at the thought of changing your shopping ways, Palkar has a reassuring message. “Let perfect not be the enemy of good,” she says with a positive smile. “The first step is not the 30-day plastic-free challenge. It is finding the smallest thing you can change and just changing that.”

Some challenges

Running a low-waste service involves challenges. Palkar acknowledges that she cannot be entirely zero waste because she has packaging made from paper. The compostable pouches are made from bio-resins and wood cellulose and are compliant with applicable standards. They keep products fresh, while providing an alternative to plastic. However, when she buys her products in bulk, some, like spices, still come in plastic.

Of course, like all delivery businesses, driving has negative environmental impacts. Since they do not have electric vehicles, they try to reduce their carbon footprints by clustering their deliveries to minimize driving.

Making sustainable businesses profitable has proven difficult for some entrepreneurs seeking to provide a low-waste retail experience. Some bulk stores have closed their doors. But the mobile strategy is helping these entrepreneurs reduce business expenses, a necessity in today’s competitive marketplace.

Making it affordable

These businesswomen are also finding ways to make low-waste shopping more affordable for their customers. Palkar explains, “I’m planning to start a weekly deal.” Each week she discounts a different category.” Running specials will enable her to buy products in larger quantities so that she can pass the savings on to her customers. Out of the Box offers a subscription option with an opportunity to pick three products of your choice.

As they pave the way for new shopping habits, Bloch and Palkar get excited about innovation. Palkar lights up as she talks about startups developing packaging made from seaweed. “I am keeping an eye on this. It could be an even better option than paper.” At Out of the Box, Bloch carries creative new sustainable products like SeaBar, a locally developed shampoo (a winner of our PreCycle 2023 pitch competition!).

Give it a try

Mobile refilleries featured in this article

Check out our entire list of zero waste shops and locations for bulk at:

If you have suggestions of other brick and morter stores, pop-ups, and mobile zero waste stores to add to our list, please contact Michelle at

You’re invited: WM Recycling Facility tour in Woodinville

We hope you will join us for an interesting tour of the newly revamped WM (formerly Waste Management) recycling facility in Woodinville. WM has upgraded its 20-year-old Cascade Recycling Center and Zero Waste Washington is organizing a tour this summer.

WM spent $40 million to completely revamp the facility and put in state of the art equipment such as advanced optical sorters. They will now be able to process up to 650 tons of recyclables per day and increase clean streams of aluminum cans, paper and cardboard, plastic bottles, glass and more.


    • What: Tour of WM’s Cascade Recycling Center
    • Date: end of July/Early August (exact date being confirmed)
    • Address: 14020 NE 190th Street, Woodinville, Washington 98072
    • Food: Light lunch will be provided
    • RSVP: Email Michelle at  (spaces are limited, we will establish a waiting list if we have overflow interest)

For more info, please contact Michelle at 

No on 2117

Zero Waste Washington’s board voted to endorse the No on 2117 campaign, and we hope you will join us by pledging your no vote too.

I-2117 proposes to repeal the Climate Commitment Act. An endorsement of NO means you support the effort to maintain the strongest policy in the country to reduce pollution and protect our air and water quality.

A wealthy hedge fund executive, Brian Heywood, put in $6 million of his own money to get I-2117 and other back-sliding initiatives on the ballot this November. The Climate Commitment Act is important to our work to help our state transition away from climate-changing emissions, including reducing landfill methane gas by shifting from disposal of food and yard waste to composting and feeding hungry people.

We need to fight climate change with all we have, to halt and then reverse all of the impacts we are already seeing – wildfires, water shortages, heat waves, and more – that will impact our next generations.

Pledge to vote NO on I-2117 today.

Thank you.

South Sound Litter Cleanup events

If you are looking for a fun activity on a spring or summer weekend, please join us. We are supporting litter cleanup events at parks, beaches, and community spaces, while at the same time collecting critical data to prevent plastic pollution! We are working in partnership with community groups that host litter cleanups, and we need volunteers to collect litter and track data, with a focus on the South Sound (Tacoma and south).

We are using a new litter assessment protocol developed with the US Environmental Protection Agency. Your participation will help us identify the types and amounts of litter in various locations so that litter can be quantified and assessed, and steps can be taken to reduce specific forms of litter. State legislators have used information we gather from litter clean-ups to support passage of various state-wide bills.

To learn more, please contact Michelle at

Farm waste results rolling in

By Nayeli Campos, Community Outreach and Policy Coordinator

We kicked off our agricultural waste project in the Fall and are excited to share some early findings. In this project, we are identifying waste challenges in the agricultural sector and will create pilot projects.  To this end, we have interviewed over 50 farmers in Snohomish, King, Kitsap and Pierce and nearby counties. Our goal is to identify solutions to reduce landfill waste while also cutting costs for farmers.

Reusable, durable nursery trays and single-use thinner trays

From Veggie Plots to Dairy Farms

 So far, we have interviewed over 50 large and small farmers and others in the agricultural sector. We’ve had the pleasure of talking to vegetable growers, fruit farmers, livestock ranchers, dairies, orchard owners, and even aquaponic enthusiasts.

Just like in our daily lives, plastic waste is a big issue on farms too. Think mulch films, irrigation tubes, and pesticide bottles. Through our conversations, we’ve uncovered some common challenges when it comes to farm waste: nursery trays/pots, drip tape, and greenhouse film are all in the top three most common items used on farms.

Common Agricultural Plastics

Nursery trays hold soil in place to grow transplants and are essential for increasing seedling survival rates, improving germination, and managing temperature. Some farmers have quantities in the thousands of these trays and often need to replace around 50-200 every year, adding up to a lot of plastic. Recycling markets for these trays are scarce and their black plastic makes it difficult to sort in recycling facilities. This means broken trays head to the landfill. There are some more durable options that are meant to last a lifetime, but they are cost prohibitive for most farmers.

Drip tape – thin plastic tubing with small holes along the length – is often laid directly on the soil close to the row of plants requiring irrigation. Drip tape can easily become clogged from sediment build up or get damaged during use and retrieval. For many farmers this often becomes a single-use item, and they are forced to send it all to the landfill and buy new quantities every year. Others are able to get 2-3 years out of it, but rarely more. To give you a sense of how much plastic that is, about 7,000 ft of tubing can be used on a single acre.

Greenhouse film is an agricultural plastic that ranges in thickness and is made with UV light stabilization to prevent the plastic from degrading quickly. Even so, some farmers are only able to get 3-4 years out of it before it is no longer usable for them.

In addition, other items like row cover (white poly-spun fabric), smaller plastic bags used for soil and fertilizer, tarps, landscape fabric, plastic twine and mulch also end up in the landfill when no longer usable.

The Role of Plastics in Farming

Many farmers say that these plastics serve crucial roles in farming practices, particularly in Washington’s damp climate, where they help extend growing seasons and protect crops from the elements.

“It’s challenging because I got into organic agriculture to be mindful of ecology and how I’m treating the land for future generations and it’s hard to have to use all these plastics,” said one farmer in King County.

We look forward to compiling all of our interview results and getting pilot projects underway to help reduce the waste burden for farmers in our region.

Please connect us

We’re just getting started and are on the lookout for more farmers to interview. If you or someone you know is involved in farming, we’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas! Whether you’re a farmer or just passionate about sustainability, we’d love to connect.

Keep an eye out for updates and the ways we’re making a difference together with our state’s farmers!

Share your insights or ask questions by reaching out to Nayeli at Big thank you: this project is funded through a Public Participation Grant from the Washington State Department of Ecology

Furniture Repair Bank’s been busy

By Xenia Dolovova, Furniture Repair Bank Director and Lucie Robitaille, dedicated volunteer

This spring the Furniture Repair Bank caught the attention of the Seattle Channel. Producer Chris Barnes created an incredible short video episode about the work we do. Take a look:

In a short time, much success

We are steadily growing. Since our launch just last year we’ve made significant strides: We diverted 502 furniture items totaling an estimated 38,200 pounds from the landfill, provided restored furniture pieces to 47 families (191 people!) in our region, collectively contributed 2,250 volunteer hours during open Repair Days and group events with local companies and organizations.

How our volunteers learn skills

Our space is a perfect place to come and learn all the parts and stages of furniture refurbishment for multiple reasons:

  • You do not need to have any tools or materials
  • You will not have the pressure to finish a project, it will not await you in a garage or guest bedroom reminding you to finish what you started
  • If you do not know where to start, you will give you all the guidance you need
  • Every time you come it’s a different journey

Our volunteers learn how to sand by hand and with a machine. They learn how to use scrapers and strippers. They paint, stain, seal, and gloss. Participants remove staples, put them back in all the right places, cut foam, batting, webbing, and deconstruct and construct back loveseats and sofas. They learn how to use an industrial sewing machine and create patterns. Come join us for your next fun volunteering journey!

If you are interested in volunteering with us, please fill out the form:

And thanks for watching our video.

The story of a furniture delivery

We work with multiple partners to serve people in need. Among our incredible partners are Lutheran Community Services Northwest, Congolese Integration Network, Neighborcare Health, St. Vincent de Paul – St. Edward’s, St. Stephen Housing Association, Catholic Community Services, and Refugee Resettlement Office. Earlier in April, Furniture Repair Bank delivered furniture to 8 families who were in need. That day we completed a full circle from rescuing furniture items to finding new loving homes for each and every piece.

Here are two of the stories:

A client of the resettlement agency Lutheran Community Services Northwest, who had worked with the US forces in Afghanistan, later escaped from the Taliban with his family. He arrived in Tukwila with his three kids. While in Afghanistan he had taken the time to teach his children English, so they had an easier time adjusting in the US.

“They were so happy and thankful for the pieces of furniture we provided them but clearly also happy to connect with us and share a bit of their life stories. Being able to help provide an environment that brings a family pride and to show that we care about them was a great feeling,” said Lucie, who was tasked to coordinate the deliveries for the day.

We also helped a client of NeighborCare Health who lived in a van for three years before he permanently moved into housing at the Seattle Housing Authority. Partners of SHA helped him source some items to make his apartment feel like home. A friend brought him a carpet, and a church provided him with a bed, mattress and a TV.

He found a new home, and he also found a neighbor and companion who reminds him to walk three times a day.

Lucie remembers, “We helped him set up the furniture in his apartment. He kept smiling and saying how beautiful the pieces of furniture were. You could tell he had pride in showing us his home and how the new things were going to complement what he already had.”

Be a part of it!

  • If you are interested in volunteering with us, please fill out this form.
  • If you are interested in bringing your team for a volunteer morale event, read more about the experience here, and email Xenia at
  • If you want to donate worn furniture for us to restore it for the benefit of people in need, fill out this form.

Read more about the Furniture Repair Bank at

To help with the Furniture Repair Bank project, or if you want to say hi or share other ideas, please email Xenia at

Calling all scavengers and creative minds: Zero Landfill Seattle event, Saturday, May 4

A fun FREE event is happening on Saturday in Seattle. The Architecture and Interior Design Community has collected expired and unwanted material samples that you can rummage through for reuse and creative upcycling.

Artists, educators, inventors, makers, and crafters will find samples of fabric, carpet, wall covering, wood, tile, stone, glass, laminate and much more to add to your personal collection or to complete your next project! Hosted by IIDA (International Interior Design Association) Northern Pacific Chapter.


  • Saturday, May 4th 9:00am – 4:00pm
  • Daltile Warehouse, 540 S Front Street, Seattle, WA 98108
  • RSVP:

Learn more and RSVP here:

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