A state Senate bill that seeks to improve Washington’s waste and recycling systems will be one of the top priorities of environmentalists for the 2022 legislative session. Senate Bill 5697 includes provisions that would shift the burden of curbside recycling costs from consumers to packaging producers. It also would require all packaging and paper products sold in Washington to be designed for reuse, recycling or composting by 2031.
“If it is not … it should no longer be produced. I am very emphatic about that,” said state Sen. Mona Das, D-Kent, a sponsor of the bill, which seeks to reinvigorate Washington’s struggling efforts to keep more waste products out of landfills and incinerators. The bill is scheduled for a public hearing Tuesday in the Senate Committee on Environment, Energy & Technology.
Within the past decade, the recycling rates in Washington have dropped from 56% to 48.5%. Meanwhile, since 2015, the average annual costs to Washington households for recycling services, in areas regulated by the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission, have risen by 36%, according to Heather Trim, executive director of Zero Waste Washington, which supports the bill.