Washingtonians are good at recycling. Our state has been a leader in recycling and ensuring aluminum cans, plastic bottles, junk mail, and other products get a second life in new products. This leads to less need for raw materials, reduce greenhouse gas emissions from extracting and transporting those materials, and fewer items in our garbage cans.

As good as Washingtonians are, we still have a ways to go before we can say that no valuable, recyclable materials are going into a landfill. HB 1131 and its companion SB 5154 seek to help us get there by increasing the types of materials we can recycle and getting more recyclables to the right place. Also called the Washington Recycling and Packaging Act, this bill hopes to help boost our recycling performance by:

  • Making the producers and manufacturers responsible for funding and managing product packaging and printed paper at the end of their life;
  • Expanding current opportunities for residents, both at the curbs and drop-off locations;
  • Creating one statewide list of what is recyclable;
  • Expanding the recycled content requirements for products; and,
  • Encouraging thoughtful product and packaging design for improved recyclability and/or reusability.

Lastly, this bill outlines the requirements for a potential deposit return system. Residents would pay a $.10 deposit on beverage containers and return them to a variety of locations to get their deposits returned.

The outcomes of the bill align with many WSAC principles but leave us with a few concerns. As county solid waste programs differ greatly from one to the other, so does the potential impact on the revenue counties receive from recyclables. This revenue can offset costs or support other programs like household hazardous waste, organics, or garbage. We need to find ways to better support Washington counties’ ability to fund these critical programs.

WSAC is taking a position on HB 1131 / SB 5154 of neutral with concerns. We shared these concerns with the Senate Environment, Energy, & Technology Committee and the House Environmental and Energy Committee during public testimony on Tuesday, January 17th

Policy Contact:
Travis Dutton
WSAC, Policy Analyst