Washington State Passes Recycling Law


Last week Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed a comprehensive recycling bill. Specifically, SB 5022 will change four things for Washingtonians: one, no more foam forever, the white swollen stuff that takes longer than your life to biodegrade. No more packing peanuts, no more clamshell take-out boxes, no more disposable coolers. Two, utensils, straws, condiments and lids for cold drinks will be available on request only. Three, plus triangle-arrow logo on plastic containers. Fourth, many plastic items in the grocery store will need to contain some amount of recycled material.

According to the bill’s sponsor in the Senate, Senator Mona Das, SB 5022 is a leading policy in a series of steps the Washington state legislature has taken to advance climate change and climate mitigation. Pollution. The legislation builds on a bill championed by Das in 2020 that banned thin plastic carrier bags and required thicker plastic bags to contain 40% post-consumer recycled content.

“The Washington legislature has taken revolutionary steps in recent years to tackle the plastics problem, and to continue that progress is vital to the health of our communities and our planet,” Das said. “I am so proud that we have adopted yet another tool to bring us to a cleaner, greener Washington – and I have been honored to work with my colleagues in the House and Senate, industry leaders , advocates and community members to achieve this. Finished.”

The processing of plastic and, in particular, expanded polystyrene is popular with the public. A recent public policy survey of bipartisan participants from Colorado, Florida, Maine and Washington state found that more than 76% would like to see more legislation to reduce plastic and plastic pollution. water. A majority (57%) of those surveyed say they support a statewide ban on take-out foam containers. Awareness and concern about the 33 billion pounds of plastic waste that enters Earth’s oceans each year is growing.

“Washington has been a national leader in the fight against recycling and plastic pollution,” said Rep. Liz Berry (D-Seattle), sponsor of the House Companion Bill for SB 5022. “I hear my constituents, and even my five years. old son – who told me garbage is the biggest threat to our oceans – that we need to take urgent action.

SB 5022 will require beverage manufacturers to increasingly respect post-consumer recycled content in their plastic containers, which will help boost the recycled plastic resin market and gain support from leading beverage companies. affected by politics. The bill also makes Washington the first state to require minimum recycled content for plastic bottles used for household cleaning and personal care products.

“This carefully crafted legislation positions Washington as a national leader in tackling our radical systemic dependence on single-use plastics,” said Senator Reuven Carlyle (D-Seattle), another strong advocate for climate solutions. “I deeply appreciate Senator Das’ tireless efforts with environmental and industry leaders to find a way forward that encourages manufacturers to responsibly adopt greener and more sustainable consumer products.

Regarding expanded polystyrene, the sale or distribution of packing peanuts will be banned from June 2023. Most portable coolers, catering items and containers will be banned from June 2024. This ban regarding expanded polystyrene is very similar to SB 6213, a law sponsored by The bill will also require food service companies to provide plastic utensils, straws, condiment wrappers and cup lids only on request, from 2022, with a few exceptions for hot drink lids, drive-thru and delivery services. This makes Washington the first state to require a full opt-in for plastic utensils, straws, cup lids and condiments.

“We must continue to hold manufacturers accountable for the plastic pollution crisis, and this bill represents another key step in the Legislative Assembly’s work to address this threat to public health and our environment,” said said Senator Christine Rolfes (D-Bainbridge Island), who has been a champion for much of the environmental protection legislation that paved the way for SB 5022.

“Requiring that plastic products contain recycled content will help create markets for our recyclable plastics,” said Representative Joe Fitzgibbon (D-West Seattle), one of the House champions for bills that build a greener economy and protect the planet. “This virtuous cycle will conserve energy and natural resources. This bill is a major step towards reducing unnecessary plastic waste that clogs our recycling and waste streams. “

During the signing of SB 5022, one of a series of environmental policy bills signed today, Inslee said, “Today is a historic day in Washington State. Thanks to the work and dedication of so many people, Washington will not only be the most beautiful state, the most innovative state. Now Washington will also have the best climate policies of the United States. “

“I was proud to bring forward this bill to tackle the plastics crisis,” Das said. “At this point – in 2021, in a state that has always been at the forefront of new technology and sustainability – we shouldn’t be making materials that aren’t recyclable, reusable or compostable.”


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