Mismanaged and excessive packaging waste harms our environment, health, and economies across the globe, particularly in developing countries.

Here in Washington State, we’re experiencing a perfect storm: the rising cost of waste management coupled with stagnant or even decreasing services. Not everyone in Washington has equal access to waste management and recycling services.

Mismanaged packaging waste often ends up in our shared waters. Soundkeeper is on the water every week, witnessing and documenting the deadly impact of marine debris and plastic pollution in our beautiful Puget Sound.

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) is key to solving this suite of problems and transitioning towards a circular economy that keeps waste out of our communities. EPR supports waste management, incentivizes changes in packaging design, and makes producers responsible for the full life cycle of their packaging waste. The RENEW Act, (SB 5697), would implement EPR for Washington State, renewing our recycling system and helping to reduce waste and packaging pollution.

In 2021, SB 5022 required higher recycled content in certain types of packaging sold in Washington. This will create end-markets for some plastic resin types, leading the way towards EPR. However, a larger, systemic change is needed to modernize our recycling program and end waste.

Soundkeeper fully supports the RENEW Act, as introduced. If passed, the RENEW Act (SB 5697) would renew our recycling system and reduce packaging waste and marine debris entering Puget Sound by:

  • Establishing an Extended Producer Responsibility system that makes producers of packaging and paper products responsible for the full lifecycle of their products
  • Requiring that by 2031, 100% of the packaging and paper products made or sold into Washington is reusable, recyclable, or compostable
  • Ensuring that more plastic and paper packaging actually gets recycled, preventing pollution, and reducing GHG emissions
  • Reducing costs and providing universal access to recycling for people across the state
  • Creating 1,650+ new green jobs and a strong recycling system with a stable funding source