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.
In addition to holiday excitement, this is the time of year of intense preparation for the legislative session, which starts January 9. So far, there are 5 zero waste-related bills solidly in the works. They address recycling, compostable products, plastics, right to repair and batteries.
Here is a brief introduction to each bill we are working on, along with our many terrific partners. These bills do not have bill numbers yet, as those get assigned once the legislation is introduced either later this month or in January.
The WRAP Act
Are you ready for our state-wide recycling system to be modernized? And to see less packaging in the first place? Litter-free roadways and natural areas? Senator Christine Rolfes and Representative Liz Berry are championing the Washington Recycling And Packaging Act (the WRAP Act) to do just that. This is the next phase of last year’s RENEW Act bill.
Importantly, the WRAP Act includes a “bottle bill” section. If passed, consumers will pay a 10 cents fee on beverage containers and then redeem the 10 cents at drop locations. The photo on the right shows a bottle “bag” drop location in Oregon. When people return their bottles and cans, the redemption is credited to their online account and the funds can be redeemed for cash, put into a college savings account, or donated to nonprofits across the state, including schools and clubs.
The batteries in our cell phones, electric toothbrushes and other rechargeable devices are lithium ion batteries. These batteries are on the rise as we move more and more into a renewable energy future. They can cause serious fires in our recycling and garbage trucks and facilities when they get crushed or “dinged.” And there are critical minerals in batteries that we need to recycle into new batteries, not dispose in landfills!
For the 2023 session, Senator Derek Stanford is leading a product stewardship bill for recycling all batteries. Last year, the champion was Rep. Harris-Talley and the bill advanced from committee and had extensive negotiations. Stakeholder process has been underway this fall with many meetings and intense discussion, especially related to a similar bill in California that was recently signed into law. We feel the time is ripe for Washington!
Right to Repair
Yes, if you have been keeping track, you will realize this will be the fifth year for a go at Right to Repair in Washington. What is new this year, though, is that a bill in New York State is waiting the governor’s signature (She has till January 10 to signal her action). We had strong forward negotiations on the bill last session here in Washington and we’re working hard to work out strong language for introduction in the new legislative session.
Representative Mia Gregerson and Senator Derek Stanford are leading the effort. Under Right to Repair, manufacturers are 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.
We work hard to reduce plastic waste and plastic pollution. This bill, championed by newly elected Representative Sharlett Mena, addresses reducing our use of plastics in three ways:
- Requiring refill stations wherever a drinking fountain is required in all new buildings. This will make it easier to transition to reusable water bottles. Currently, refill stations are only required in new educational buildings in Washington. We want people to be able to bring their own reusable bottles and get them refilled everywhere there is a water fountain.
- Phasing out mini personal care plastic packaging (shampoos, conditions, lotions and soaps) at hotels and other lodging establishments, to help eliminate unnecessary, hard-to-recycle plastic waste. Instead, hotels would install bulk dispensers or use non-plastic packages (such as cardboard sleeves for soap bars, cotton swabs, and shower caps). Similar laws have already been passed in California and New York as well as local cities like Bellingham and Bainbridge Island.
- Banning foam docks and floats to reduce a major source of plastic pollution in lakes and marine waters. Many docks use floats that are made of or filled with plastic foam. When damaged, they leak bits of plastic foam that contain toxic chemicals which harm wildlife, pollute marine and shoreline environments, and are impossible to clean up. Foam-free docking—filled simply with air—is a readily available alternative that can be used in the same applications, at a similar cost.
Earlier this year, Representative Joe Fitzgibbon led the passage of a major bill (HB1799) that set a target to reduce our load of organic material (yard debris and food waste) to the landfill by 75%. As our cities, counties and businesses start to work toward more composting, the issue of food waste and, in particular, the foodware we get when we order “to go” food, needs to be addressed. Our ultimate goal is to have reuse and refill systems in place, so that we would get our food in easy to return durable cups, clamshells and containers.
First, though, we need to tackle the patchwork usage and acceptance of products across Washington. It is confusing that some compost facilities allow compostable foodware made of PLA (polylactic acid, made from corn) and facilities other areas do not allow any fiber or compostable products at all. This bill, led by Representative Amy Walen, would create 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. Our goal is to help get more food waste to compost facilities rather than the landfill.
Thank you all for your help in moving important zero waste bills forward. If you have any questions, please contact Heather at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our goal at Zero Waste Washington is to have fun… while working to move the needle on waste. Please come to our annual holiday party – online! – and hang out for 1 ½ hours with wonderful partners and community members who share your interests and care about the same things you do. We will keep you entertained with a fun, interactive jeopardy game! Plus, we have the added excitement of celebrating our 40th anniversary.
Please join us for
Zero Waste Washington’s
Annual Holiday Party
Friday, December 9, 2022
Please register so we can send you the zoom link:
or email: Michelle@zerowastewashington.org
Great community and
fun “waste” themed interactive game show!
This event also serves as Zero Waste Washington’s annual meeting. Members can vote for board members by clicking here. Board members up for re-election are Tere Carral, Moji Igun, Tristen Pamphlet-Gardner, Steve Gilbert, Hannah Johnson, Patty Liu and Sally Wolf. Ballots must be received by Dec. 9.
By Kami Bruner, Waste Reduction Program Manager and Michelle Alten-Kaehler, Development Coordinator
Whether it’s hitting the slopes, backpacking in our local wintry wonderlands, or simply bike-commuting on slushy cold days, Washingtonians are undeterred by the change of seasons. But one needs to be properly equipped… to “get the gear.” For this holiday season, do we really have to “get” new gear? Maybe we can borrow it instead. And for those of us sitting on a small empire of gear, what if there were ways to share it?
Evan Maynard: rethinking gear
Evan Maynard, a Seattle entrepreneur, is rethinking the way we “gear up” for our outdoor sports. At Gearhouse he navigates a room filled with cross country skis, snowshoes, sleeping bags, four-season tents, camping stoves and so much more. The space resembles a glorious bazaar for adventure seekers.
But the equipment is not for sale. Instead, Gearhouse is an outdoor gear rental library, focused on community, sustainability, and accessibility.
“When I arrived in Seattle eight years ago,” Maynard explains, “I didn’t have the gear and experience to do many outdoor adventures.” Now, for a membership fee, he offers people unlimited access to gear, along with a plethora of outdoor activities with a ready-to-hit-the-slopes, or trails, community. “We are more than a rental,” he adds. “We are a launching point to become outdoorsy.”
Maynard’s brainchild is part of a trend to change up our relationship with things. Renting and sharing not only free us from the burden of stuff, but can substantially reduce waste. “The rental is designed to replace ownership,” Maynard explains. “This can lead to a reduction in manufacturing and gear reaching the end of life.”
Other gear shares
Other Pacific Northwest organizations are providing ways to enjoy our winter paradise in a zero-waste way. Seattle-based Mountaineers Gear Library enables members to borrow items ranging from crampons to backpacks by searching for equipment online and reserving a pick-up and return time.
New startup, GeerGarage (I looked it up and there is not space) lets you share the joy of winter—and every other season—through its peer-to-peer gear lending site. Outdoor enthusiasts post personal equipment, making it available for a fee. Before heading for the slopes or trail, you can choose items to rent directly from the owner. Gear available on a given day can range from snowshoes or ski poles to canoes or coolers. While this innovative option makes sharing equipment easier, it may require planning and more than a one-stop trip if you need to pick up skis from one owner and goggles from another.
And, keep in mind that many REI Co-ops provide snowshoes, backcountry or cross country skis and a variety of equipment for hiking, camping, and backpacking.
There are now many options making it possible to buy used gear. Shops like Wonderland Gear Exchange help you find secondhand equipment or consign your retired skis to bring cheer to a new owner.
For children, who often outgrow ski and snowboard equipment and clothing almost every season, Play It Again Sports allows you to buy used and sell back, providing a handy and affordable cycle.
At community ski swaps across the state, you can discover a wealth of winter treasures—from used boots and bindings to beanies and goggles.
This winter season, there are also ways to keep your skis and equipment on the mountain and out of the landfill. A trip to the repair shop can delay their demise. Experts can fill scratches, artfully patch deep gouges, and replace battered metal edges.
They can even mend your favorite parka. Many of us have dearly beloved gear that we’re loathe to let go of despite rips, zips that won’t zip, waterproofing that leads to water pooling in places it ought not. Sure, you could replace that gear, but can you really replace it? Sometimes upgrades are in order but often, our best gear friends just need a little TLC to be good as new and keep making memories with us.
You might even give the gift of repair to someone whose down sleeping bag has become unfluffed or whose favorite coat refuses to zip. Local companies like Rainy Pass Repair can work their magic on all kinds of equipment. Check out our recent interview with them! https://www.repaireconomywa.org/helping-you-fix-your-favorite-gear-bob-upton-kipp-hayley/
Alternatively, you might try a community fixer event like the upcoming Gear Repair Café, hosted by Waste Loop, taking place in Cashmere on Dec. 8th. For more details on this and other repair events around the state, see our Repair Economy Calendar and for gear repair businesses across the state, the Repair Economy map, both listed below.
Turning it into art!
Sadly, try as we might to prolong their lives, one day our favorite skis and boards may take their last glorious runs. Skis, on average, last from 100 to 200 days of use. So, what happens when they can no longer shred the slopes? Unfortunately, snow boards and skis are not recyclable in the traditional sense. With cores made of wood, a reinforcement layer made from carbon, metal, and fiberglass, and a plastic base, they contain materials that cannot be separated.
This hasn’t stopped ski artist Brian Geppert, from establishing SkiArtistry ski recycling program. Geppert partners with sporting goods shops and Steven’s Pass, so you can drop off your tattered skis. He then transforms them into whimsical household creations ranging from ski wall lamps to wine bottle holders or passes them on to others for repurposing.
Efforts are underway to create more earth-loving outdoor sporting gear from 100% recycled materials or sustainable hemp, wood, and volcanic basalt rock fibers. But as zero wasters, our holiday spirit involves shifting gears. This season, instead of gifting a new snow board, or even a tent or backpack, consider a sharing club membership or a rental certificate. Tis the season of giving… maybe don’t buy a bunch of new gear. Show your love for friends, family, and the planet by not buying new.
Rental, Swap, Reuse, Repair and more
Here is a list of resources for options to try out:
- Geer Garage (peer-to-peer lending) https://geergarage.com/
- Gearhouse (gear library) https://www.joingearhouse.com/
- Mountaineers Gear Library https://www.mountaineers.org/membership/gear-library
Gear Rental (in town)
- REI Co-op (rental items and inventory vary with locations) https://www.rei.com/
Used Equipment Sales and Consignment
- Wonderland Gear Exchange (Seattle) https://wonderlandgearexchange.com/
- Play It Again Sports https://www.playitagainsports.com/home
- Foster Outdoor (Vancouver) https://fosteroutdoor.com/
- Rambler Raven Gear Trader (Spokane) https://rambleraven.com/
- REI Co-op https://www.rei.com/used
- The Sports Connection (Mukilteo) https://www.yelp.com/biz/the-sports-connection-mukilteo OR https://www.facebook.com/snowboardparadise/
- Backcountry Essentials (Bellingham) https://backcountryessentials.net/pages/used-gear
- Superior Seconds (Issaquah) http://www.superiorseconds.org/
- TheSkiSwap.com (information about ski swaps in a range of locations around the state) http://www.theskiswap.com/home.html
Look on our new interactive repair map for repair shops around Washington https://www.repaireconomywa.org/ (Select “Outdoor Gear” from the drop down menu)
- Rainy Pass Repair https://rainypass.com/
- Repair events around the state: https://www.repaireconomywa.org/trainings-events/
- SkiArtistry ski recycling program https://sites.google.com/view/ski-recycling
Kami, originally from Tennessee, enjoys exploring our local zero waste options. Michelle Alten-Kaehler is an outdoor activity enthusiast. For more local zero waste efforts, check out Zero Waste Washington’s list of zero waste stores around the state.
By Ashley Whitley, Outreach/Education/Policy Coordinator
Take a moment to think about the last time you went out to eat. Where did you go? Was your food served on disposable plates and cups or on durable plates with metal cutlery? Zero Waste Washington has a new program to provide mini-grants to restaurants in King County to switch to durable foodware for in-house dining and to upgrade dishwashers.
Working with local restaurants to switch from single use to durable foodware
With generous funding from the King County RE+ grant program, Zero Waste Washington is launching a pilot project that will help local restaurants, fast casual, and coffee shops transition from single use foodware to disposable foodware for in-house dining by providing mini-grants for new foodware and dishwasher upgrades. Reducing the upfront costs of durable products and dishwasher upgrades will make durable products more accessible, ultimately reducing plastic and other waste and saving businesses money.
The problem with single use foodware in restaurants
Many restaurants, fast food joints, and coffee shops serve their food and drink using disposable plates, cups and cutlery for in-house dining. When the meal is over, these items are thrown away, which quickly adds unnecessary packaging and food waste to our landfills. Using these products also has significant environmental impacts such as resource extraction, plastic pollution, and waste generation. And, of course, the cost of buying these products again and again adds up for the food establishments.
We would like your input
We are currently in the beginning stages of this pilot project and are seeking restaurants and food establishments that might be interested in a mini-grant to help them switch from single use foodware to durable foodware. This program will cover King County (but not Seattle).
If you know of any King County businesses that may be interested in receiving a mini grant please let us know by emailing email@example.com
By Xenia Dolovova, Waste Reduction Programs Director
Zero Waste Washington, in partnership with Seattle Good Business Network, is pleased to announce that applications for the 2023 PreCycle Innovation Challenge will open January 2. This educational program and competition is open for idea-stage and development-stage business teams as well as non-profit startup teams and student teams. To be eligible, a team’s products need to be services that address waste reduction, recycling, food waste prevention, composting, contamination reduction, and litter control. Teams attend workshops and mentoring and compete for cash awards.
PreCycle 2023 accelerates zero waste innovation in the region
The PreCycle Innovation Challenge supports new zero waste startups that focus on circularity in Washington with tailored knowledge, connections, and advice. Registration will open on January 2, 2023.
Winners of PreCycle 2022
The winning teams of PreCycle 2022 covered a range of products and services:
- Startup Business track winner: Origin Straws sells a natural drinking straw to local bars and restaurants. Their straw material is a byproduct of wheat harvesting made from the stem of wheat plants. The straws are fully compostable, do not get soggy, and can be used for hot and cold drinks.
- Startup Business Runner-up:Ground2Ground Glass, based in Walla Walla, works to reuse glass wine bottles by crushing them so that the resulting glass sand can be used for roadbed, filtration, pathways and more. Ground2Ground Glass also received the audience and business startup favorite award.
- Student track winner: Just Right Bite is a female-owned company founded in 2021 while on the hunt for a solution to help with dog allergies. Just Right Bite makes really tasty pet snacksfrom insect protein. And the insects are grown using food waste. Audience favorite student team prize went to Just Right Bite.
- Student Runner-up winner: Better Baby Bottles aims to create stainless steel baby bottles that attach to mainstream breast pumps, instead of plastic bottles. They integrate with popular pump brands, are fully recyclable, and are 40% lighter than equivalent glass bottles.
PreCycle is designed as a feeder competition for other similar programs in the region such as NextCycle WA. We were thrilled that, in 2022, Ground2Ground Glass, Just Right Bite and many other PreCycle teams applied to NextCycle 2022 program and several teams were accepted.
Timeline for 2023
The PreCycle 2023 program includes technical and business development workshops (e.g., financials, market fit, circular design, pitch preparation, etc.), mentoring, and networking.
The program culminates in a day-long virtual educational event highlighting zero waste and circular economy initiatives all around the state and includes video pitches and live judging of the top business teams. This online event will be May 15, 2022. Members of the public, agency and business staff, and students will be invited to attend. Click here to see the PowerPoints and videos of the presentations from the 2022 event.
Post event, all participants will be offered support to carry their ideas forward.
Become an expert to the program. Help Mentor teams or become a Judge
Help us shape more resilient future. The PreCycle Challenge depends upon subject matter experts – Mentors, Judges, Presenters, and the support of Sponsors. Help support and shape the future generations of innovative circular ideas and entrepreneurs! Learn more and show your interest here: https://www.precyclewa.org/get-involved
Learn more about PreCycle Innovation Challenge 2023 here: https://www.precyclewa.org
Get involved in our effort here: https://www.precyclewa.org/get-involved
Sign up on the PreCycle mailing list: [link]
Thank you to the 2022 sponsors:
If you have questions about PreCycle, please email Xenia at firstname.lastname@example.org
By Kami Bruner, Waste Reduction Program Manager
Registration is open for Repair Economy Summit 2022: “Repair. Reuse. Resilience.” taking place over 2 days, December 12th and 13th from 4-7pm. Day 1 will tackle: The Big Picture: How repair, reuse, and remaking is building community resilience and combating climate change, and Day 2 will be focused on Shop Talk: practical matters + peer problem-solving.
The Repair Economy Summit 2022 is an annual event grateful funded by an Ecology Public Participation Grant. A planning committee of dedicated leaders from around the region helped put together an engaging agenda:
- Rural Repair and Reuse: challenges, opportunities, innovations!
- Disaster Preparedness and Community Resilience: expanding our repair/reuse models and the communities served
- Our Collective Impact: demonstrating the social, economic, and environmental benefits of reuse and repair
- Repair education in K-12
- Pro-Climate Policy Efforts – What’s happening on the legislative front and how it addresses climate change
- How do we scale repair/reuse/remaking?
- Getting the support you need: resources for funding, legal advice, operations support
- Toward a Tool Library Alliance
- Collecting and sharing data for impact
There will also be ample time for networking. Learn more and register here: https://repaireconomy2022.brownpapertickets.com/
For more information and if you have suggestions, please contact Kami at email@example.com.
Please show your support by donating to Zero Waste Washington’s Annual End-of-Year Appeal Campaign! As we celebrate our 40th anniversary, 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! This upcoming legislative session, we will advocate for 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 directly 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!
Zero Waste Washington
816 Second Avenue, Suite 200 * Seattle, WA * 98104