The Washington House has approved legislation April 7 that would require increased recycled content in plastic beverage containers, trash bags and bottles for household products; ban expanded polystyrene food ware, recreational coolers and packing peanuts; and require that utensils, straws, cup lids and condiments only be provided to customers on request.
SB 5022, sponsored by Sen. Mona Das (D-Kent), builds on a bill Das championed in 2020 that banned thin plastic carryout bags and required that thicker plastic bags consist of 40 percent postconsumer recycled content.
According to a news release from the Washington-based Association of Plastic Recyclers, industry experts and environmental groups say they expect SB 5022 to pass, in part, because of a strong support for its minimum recycled-content requirements, a concept that has been gaining traction nationally. Steve Alexander, president and CEO of APR, says he anticipates this bill to be one of many such bills in the country in the coming years.
“I definitely see major changes coming, with more attention by brands to using recycled material and designing packaging to be compatible with recycling,” he says.
SB 5022 passed by the state’s Senate March 2. After passing in the House, the Senate also approved House amendments to the bill April 19. The bill is headed to Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s desk for signature.