Washington Packaging Stewardship Activities

SB 5022 was introduced as a packaging producer responsibility bill, but a substitute bill (2SSB 5022) was adopted that contains three elements:

  • requiring minimum recycled content for plastic beverage containers
  • banning the sale and distribution of certain expanded polystyrene (EPS) products
  • equiring single-use food service-ware be offered on request

The substitute bill passed the Senate Environment, Energy, and Technology committee on February 3, and the Ways & Means committee Feb. 16, and passed the Senate on March 2, amended as 2E2SSB (2nd Engrossed 2nd Substitute) - it now awaits consideration in the House.

SB 5022's companion, HB 1118, did not receive a hearing, retains its producer responsibility system requirements, and remains in the House to possibly be considered again in the second year of the biennium, 2022.

Watch video of SB 5022's one-hour Jan. 26 hearing in the Senate Environment, Energy, and Technology committee.

HB 1118 would create a circular economy for PPP in Washington, increase the amount of materials that are collected and recycled responsibly, create new markets by requiring producers to use the materials in new products and packaging, enhance the domestic processing infrastructure, reduce greenhouse gases, and create new jobs in Washington. The bill is a paradigm shift from current recycling programs where it is difficult, if not impossible, to determine the fate of recyclable materials that are collected from residents.

The bill builds on the plastic packaging report and recommendations submitted to the legislature in October, which was the result of the study bill passed in 2019. Watch video of the Senate Environment, Energy, and Technology committee's Dec. 1, 2020, 15-min work session reviewing the plastic packaging report and recommendations.

In October 2020, Zero Waste Washington, the Washington Beverage Association, and WSRA hosted an online tour of Recycle BC's residential recycling EPR program, with Washington State legislators and Recycle BC program staff - watch a video recording of the tour.

Tools for Local Government in Washington

More than 45 countries have packaging EPR laws and the U.S. is "the only member nation of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) that does not have an industry-financed packaging stewardship program," according to a letter in support from the Product Stewardship Institute (PSI). "Similar programs have been operating with great success in many areas of the world for more than 30 years, including Belgium, which has achieved an 80% recycling rate for packaging, and in British Columbia, which has achieved a 75% recovery rate."

Watch the NWPSC video on why EPR is a solution for the problem of packaging (YouTube):