Yet another report proposing to transform Washington’s waste system

by Carl Schroeder, Shannon McClelland | Jul 02, 2020
For the avid readers out there, it may seem like every issue of the Legislative Bulletin during this interim includes news of one or more recycling-related studies being released. This month is no different.

For the avid readers out there, it may seem like every issue of the Legislative Bulletin during this interim includes news of one or more recycling-related studies being released. This month is no different.

Due to the increase in quality standards for shipments of waste materials to China—and the resulting market crash—there is growing momentum to provide a sustainable market for packaging waste in Washington and the region. The latest report, From Waste Materials to Clean Materials, comes from the Center for Sustainable Infrastructure (CSI) based in Olympia. The report purports to serve as a blueprint for transforming the Pacific Northwest’s waste system into a world-class model that delivers widespread economic, health, and environmental benefits.

Like the many other reports released in the last few months, this report focuses its attention on the promise of extended producer responsibility (EPR) as a solution. EPR is a policy that ensures producers of goods are responsible to fund and manage systems to recycle and dispose of their products when people are done with them. This takes the financial burden off municipalities and places it on producers. But this “blueprint” takes that concept further and challenges policymakers in Oregon and Washington to pursue EPR 2.0. This next generation EPR proposes to push producers to address five goals – prevention of waste, longer life and usefulness from products, recycling optimization, and development of clean production and processing hubs.

You can download the report, order hard copies, watch the webinar, and access other information here. CSI also has a brief survey to share your initial thoughts on how to turn these ideas into reality or make these ideas better.

We expect to see EPR legislation in the 2021 session and would appreciate if you share your thoughts with us on this topic as well.

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