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.

Getting ready for 2022 legislative session: Five bills and counting

This fall has been a flurry of stakeholder meetings working on bills for the 2022 Washington legislative session that begins on January 10. These bills build on recent year initiatives to address modernizing our recycling system, reducing methane gas, recycling batteries, and gaining right to repair.

Zero Waste-related legislative bills being proposed, so far

Zero Waste Washington has been working with terrific partners, highly engaged stakeholders, and wonderful environmental legislative champions to develop policy for the the following bills:

  • The RENEW Act bill, to modernize our recycling system and reduce waste, is being championed by Senator Mona Das and Representative Liz Berry. It sets strong targets and adds a producer responsibility program for packaging and printed products,. This bill builds on the momentum of similar bills passed recently in Maine and Oregon.
  • Policy to decrease methane gas at our landfills is being led by Representative Joe Fitzgibbon and Senator Mona Das. In 2022, the goal is to take steps to divert more organic material (food waste and yard debris) to compost and anaerobic digestion facilities and move excess food to hungry people. Another bill, led by Representative Davina Duerr, will increase the effectiveness of landfill gas extraction. Zero Waste Washington’s recent report, Improving Organic Materials Management, covers many of these policies.
  • We need to make it easier and cheaper to repair electronic items (i.e., items with a screen). A groundbreaking Right to Repair bill, championed by Representative Mia Gregerson, is in the works. This has extra momentum due to the recent announcements by Microsoft and Apple that they will make it easier for people to repair their devices.
  • Addressing safety and ease of recycling of batteries through a product stewardship bill is being led by Representative Kirsten Harris-Talley. Lithium ion batteries are a major concern because they can cause fires at our recycling facilities and elsewhere. We need to make it easy for people to recycle batteries safely through a take-back program rather than putting batteries in our home garbage or recycling bins.

More details to come, as we get closer to session. We will update our legislative work webpage as bills get officially introduced.

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

South Park Youth Learn About Plastic Waste in Their Community

By Ashley Whitley, Outreach/Education/Policy Coordinator

Zero Waste Washington partnered the Duwamish River Community Coalition to support the Duwamish Valley Youth Corps with an 11-week program for high school students in the South Park neighborhood of Seattle. The program focused on waste reduction and plastic pollution in the community and the Duwamish River. We are very proud of the youth for their accomplishments and hard work.

 Big thanks for grants from the Washington State Department of Ecology and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that made this program possible.

Community Litter Cleanups

As part of the program, the youth conducted litter cleanups in the South Park neighborhood. With trash pickers and buckets, the youth worked together to collect every piece of litter they could find. After learning about the harmful effects of microplastics on marine environments, the youth focused on collecting litter of all sizes, even small fragments.

After the cleanups, the litter was assessed by the youth. Each piece of litter was categorized, photographed, weighed, and recorded. The litter assessments provided data that was used to create outreach materials and start conversations with members of the community about waste reduction and environmental health.

The youth stated that their most shocking discovery was the number of cigarette butts and plastic food wrappers they found.

Community Outreach

The youth team then worked to educate their community and spread information about the importance of reducing waste and litter. Using flyers and outreach materials that they designed and created, the youth conducted door-to-door outreach. When visited, many of the South Park residents thanked these young adults for their hard work and asked questions about how they can reduce their waste and pollution. The youth stated that many of the residents were interested in composting and wanted to learn more about how to get started. The youth had the opportunity to answer those questions and give tips on how to properly compost and reduce waste overall.

Youth-Led Videos

With the help of Latinos Northwest Communications, the youth-produced amazing educational videos about plastic pollution, waste reduction, and recycling. During a brainstorming session, they decided that they wanted the videos to explain the impacts of plastic pollution and demonstrate how to properly dispose of waste. It was important to the youth that at least one of the videos explained how to sort waste at home after they wrote and conducted a survey about waste and discovered that many of their friends and family had difficulty sorting waste but were interested in learning how.

Creating a music video allowed the youth to practice songwriting and music production, along with acting and film skills.

Videos created by youth

In sum

We are very honored by the youth that have participated in this program for their hard work and accomplishments this session. Witnessing the passion the students have for the environment and their community has been very inspiring.


We need healthy resources to survive. We need to keep our planet green and clean” – Randall, 12th grade

For more information about youth programming, please contact Ashley at ashley@zerowastewashington.

‘Tis the Season (to Slow Down and Waste Less!)

Credit: Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Star

By Kami Bruner, Waste Reduction Project Coordinator

We have now officially embarked on what might be the most wasteful time of year: the winter holidays. Parties, wrapping paper, presents and gift cards galore – and don’t forget to add in the pandemic-factor: masks, gloves, rapid test kits, and the mountain of “just to be safe” plastic wrap! Not to mention all those carbon emissions from deliveries! What’s a would-be zero-waster to do?

First off, perhaps instead of Black Friday, you celebrated Buy Nothing Day. Kicked off in the early ‘90s in Vancouver, Buy Nothing Day pushed back, asking us to examine our relationship with consumerism. How many of those shiny new deals does anyone actually need or ultimately enjoy anyway?

Less is More

The more we have, the less each thing tends to be valued. For many years, the holiday season trend has been toward ever more sparkle and wow-factor – sadly, even in the DIY-world. Perhaps instead of garlands and wreaths for every door and window, a single wreath with homemade baubles would do? And for that upcoming party, maybe two appetizers would suffice instead of a full smorgasbord of tapas? When our senses aren’t overwhelmed by the barrage of holiday stimuli, there’s more space for deeper appreciation.

 Make Peace with Imperfection

Try cultivating contentment with the less-than-ideal and normalize it in your daily life. It takes pressure off, and it’s good for society! The quest for “perfect” drives consumerism and, ultimately, waste. There’s ample beauty to be found in the irregular, incomplete, non-optimized, and out-of-the-ordinary – not to mention more personality and stories! Maybe it’s time to break the mold!

Haste Makes Waste

When rushed, we make bad decisions and mistakes. Both result in waste, from needing to re-do it again to simply making something impossible to reuse (think of all the wrapping paper that could have been repurposed had it not been shredded in the feeding frenzy of unwrapping). Slowing down and thinking about the experience, the higher goal associated with it, and the aftermath of the celebration, helps to provide perspective.

Much Ado

For your holiday, there are countless options to have fun and reduce the carbon consequences that come along with it! Check out Simplify the Holidays, an initiative led by the Center for Biological Diversity offering tons of beautiful suggestions. In the meantime, here are some simple ideas:

  • Give experiences! If you think back, some of your best holiday memories may be special experiences you had with people you loved.
  • Go ahead and ask people what they want. While surprise gifts are fun, often it is more likely to be used if it is a desired gift rather than a guess on your part.
  • Repurpose – what’s old can become new and useful, especially to someone else.
  • Repair – get something fixed that’s been bugging a friend or loved one.
  • Rent, Share, or Swap resources and gifts.


  • Buy used and help establish a new social norm.
  • Invest in a service or membership – give the gift of access to something a friend or family member might not be willing to splurge on for themselves.
  • Make the packaging part of the gift, for example a pretty scarf, a handy bucket, or a painted box. Really – anything attractive that can also contain things.
  • Use newspaper (cartoons!), fabric bags or other creative materials to wrap your gifts. The lovely Japanese practice of using furoshiki (wrapping cloths) epitomizes this.
  • And finally, give to a cause you or your loved ones care about.

For a helpful breakdown of carbon-conscious Christmas tree and garland options, check out this post from Emeraldology. King County hosts a Green Holidays guide with tips galore for repurposing, recycling, and reducing your carbon footprint.

In Closing: Slow Down and Savor

Above all, enjoy slowing down this season! This does not mean simply taking time off work – only to compensate by doubling down on your productivity in every conceivable DIY holiday project. Give yourself (and others) a real break from the ante-up frenzy of making, decorating, and Instagramming it all. Instead, call a friend, go for a walk to appreciate the lights, take a nap, drink some hot cider, and let your mind wander. Slowing down is not only a small revolutionary act, you’re more likely to remember and enjoy each moment.

Here’s to happy, slow, and low-waste, holidays!

Kami, originally from Tennessee, enjoys exploring our local zero waste options. For local zero waste efforts, check out Zero Waste Washington’s list of zero waste and bulk stores around the state.

Seeking fixers!

By Xenia Dolovova, Waste Reduction Program Manager

Remember times when we were able to gather for a great community event and create wonderful things together? We are optimistic that we can soon bring back in-person Fix-it Fairs in Seattle and new Furniture Fix-it events in Pierce, Kitsap, Snohomish and King Counties. We are seeking fixers, apprentices, and volunteers to help out at these fun events. 

Seattle Fix-It Fairs

We are planning to start up Fix-it Fairs in Seattle. Fix-it Fairs are repair events where everyone brings their broken stuff and skilled community members fix it free of charge. We are looking for fixers and apprentices of all skills, including electrical, mechanical, sewing, jewelry repair, carpentry, tech, and more. We are also always looking for volunteers who can support logistics at the events, such as signing people in, helping direct flow, and just generally helping out.

  • FIXERS: If you are interested in being a fixer at Fix-it Fairs in Seattle, please fill out the form here
  • APPRENTICES: If you are still learning the skill and would like to be an apprentice fixer, please fill out this form here
  • VOLUNTEERS: If you would like to help as a volunteer with logistics for the events in Seattle, please fill out this form here

Furniture Fix-It Events

(seeking fixers AND donations of furniture!)

We are excited to announce that we are starting a new project to repair furniture as a way to help keep discarded furniture out of the landfill and to provide needed furniture to families. We will rescue broken and imperfect furniture items (from community members and partners), fix and refurbish them, and provide them to refugees and other vulnerable community members. These furniture repair events will occur in Pierce, Kitsap, Snohomish, King and possibly Clark County. We are now looking for individuals who are skilled in woodworking, reupholstering, and other furniture repair trades. We are also looking for apprentice fixers and volunteers who want to support other logistics of the project. And importantly, we are seeking furniture donations.

  • FURNITURE FIXERS: If you are interested in being a fixer (including painters/stainers) at Furniture Fix-it events, please fill out the form here
  • FURNITURE APPRENTICES: If you are still learning the skill and would like to be an apprentice furniture fixer, please fill out this form here
  • FURNITURE VOLUNTEERS: If you would like to help as a volunteer with logistics for the furniture events, please fill out this form here
  • FURNITURE DONATIONS: If you would like to donate furniture, please fill out this form here

And a big thank you to Ecology for providing support for these events through the Public Participation Grant program!

If you would like to follow the news of the project, like the Facebook page:

If you want to volunteer your time to help with coordination of the events, have any ideas on storage or locations or transportation services, or have any other questions, email Xenia at

Addressing Food Waste in Burien

By Ashley Whitley, Outreach/Education/Policy Coordinator

Food waste is a growing problem. In the most recent Ecology Waste Characterization study, food waste amounts to 13.8% by weight of what we sent for disposal in landfills or incineration in 2020. In February 2020, the City of Burien passed an ordinance requiring compostable-only to-go foodware with the goal of decreasing food waste entering the waste stream and decreasing the amount of plastic contamination degrading compost. Zero Waste Washington partnered with the City of Burien to conduct an educational technical assistance program to assist food establishments to implement the new ordinance and to assess food waste.

Outreach and Mini-grants

We conducted outreach to the business owners and managers about the new ordinance and shared information about a mini-grant program and purchasing co-op. Both programs were created to minimize the barriers that many businesses were facing when purchasing compostable service ware for their businesses. We offered mini-grants for businesses to purchase compostable foodware to test or to purchase bins and other supplies to help with the transition. Discover Burien, a local nonprofit organization that works to support other local businesses, stepped forward to lead a purchasing co-op. Small businesses will pool together for bulk purchases of compostable products in order to bring the price down by getting volume discounts.

Waste Audits demonstrated the large amount of food in bins

A key part of the program were food waste audits of the customer-facing bins at restaurants, coffee shops and other food establishments. We collected garbage and recycling waste (no store was using compost during the pandemic) and weighed food waste as well as cataloging the types and weights of other materials in the bins.

Litter Cleanup and Assessment

In September, we had a successful cleanup at Seahurst Park in Burien in partnership with the Environmental Science Center. We were joined by amazing volunteers who were even willing to help in the rain. After the cleanup, we conducted a litter assessment of the waste collected. We found significant amounts of plastic food serviceware and the largest item we found during the cleanup was an old Christmas tree covered in seaweed.

For more information about the Burien project, please contact Ashley at ashley@zerowastewashington.

You are invited to a Have a Gas

Zero Waste Washington’s Annual Holiday Party and Meeting Friday December 3rd

You are invited to our virtual annual meeting and holiday party on Friday, December 3, 5-6:30 pm. All are welcome!  This year’s theme is Have a Gas. This will be an online, interactive event, sure to make you smile.

You’re Invited!

Please join us for

Zero Waste Washington’s

Annual Meeting and Holiday Party

Friday, December 3, 2021

5—6:30 pm

Via zoom

Great community and

fun “waste” themed interactive game show!

Please register so we can send you the zoom link: or email:

* Have a Gas means To have a thoroughly entertaining, enjoyable, and/or amusing time

Vote for board members

Zero Waste Washington members can vote for board members at the annual meeting or by going to our board and staff page to vote online.  To vote by mail, call us at 206/441-1790 or email and we’ll send you a ballot. Board members up for re-election are Marie Novak, Teresa Jones, Shirlee Tan, and Kyle Loring. Ballots must be received by midnight on December 3rd.

Please join zero waste with your end-of-year tax deductible gift. Together we can make the difference!

Zero Waste Washington cannot do this work without you. Thank you for your generous support. Together we are driving policy changes for a healthy and zero-waste future in Washington.

And thank you for all that you do in your own lives and in the community to help create a zero waste world. Action each of us takes every day helps reduce the amount of waste going into the trash, which in turn moves us toward our vision of a just, equitable and sustainable future!

Send us your success stories! We’d love to hear them and maybe even include them in a future newsletter.

Donate here

Zero Waste Washington

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

(206) 441-1790

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