Oregon and Washington develop recycling solutions

In light of the challenges facing recycling systems, both Oregon and Washington concluded study and engagement processes regarding packaging and printed paper (PPP), both of which are expected to introduce legislation in 2021.

The Oregon Dept. of Environmental Quality (DEQ) convened a Recycling Steering Committee (RSC) to "consider alternatives and ultimately recommend a path forward to modernize our recycling system. After two years of hard work, the RSC recommended a holistic shared responsibility framework that addresses the challenges in our decades-old recycling system and creates an effective, stable and resilient system for the future." In September, the Oregon RSC released a recommended concept for modernizing Oregon's recycling system (PDF), which includes a statewide EPR system for consumer brands and packaging producers.

As a result of the plastic packaging study bill Washington state passed in May 2019, the Washington plastic packaging report and recommendation was sent to the legislature by Oct. 31, 2020. The study focused on the amount and types of plastic packaging produced in Washington or transported into the state; the cost of managing plastic packaging waste for businesses, local governments, and ratepayers; where Washington's plastic packaging winds up; and estimating what kind of infrastructure Washington needs to manage its plastic packaging. The report, fact sheets, and summaries are available on the Dept. of Ecology's plastic packaging website.