Sen. Rolfes and Rep. Berry to introduce bill to eliminate unnecessary packaging and improve recycling

Media Contacts
Pam Clough

Advocate at Environment Washington

Nora Nickum

Policy Manager at Seattle Aquarium
(206) 556-1830

Heather Trim

Executive Director at Zero Waste Washington
(206) 351-2898

SEATTLE–  A new bill being introduced by Sen. Christine Rolfes and Rep. Liz Berry and presented at a launch event at the Seattle Aquarium would address the growing amount of unnecessary packaging–much of which is plastic and not recyclable. It would do so by establishing a program to increase Washington recycling rates and incentivize companies to reduce packaging and switch remaining packaging to reusable, compostable, or recyclable alternatives. 

Each year, roughly 400 million tons of plastic waste is produced worldwide. Nearly half of all plastic produced is designed to be used just once and then thrown away. Washingtonians experience this problem first-hand with all of the single use packaging filling landfills, littering neighborhoods, shorelines, and parks, and harming wildlife.

“Washington has taken some great steps to reduce waste and improve recycling, but there is more work to be done,” said Rep. Liz Berry (D-Seattle). “The WRAP Act is a comprehensive plan that will help limit the amount of recyclable materials going to landfills and expand recycling services to more households. I am particularly excited about creating a beverage deposit system to greatly increase our ability to reach recycling, reuse and refill targets. I am proud to be the House champion for this truly landmark legislation for our state.”

The WRAP Act would use two complementary mechanisms to improve recycling and reduce waste:

  1. Establish a producer responsibility system, requiring the companies that actually make packaging decisions to be financially responsible for the end-of-life management of these materials, rather than those costs falling on Washington residents. This model has proven successful around the world, and similar programs have recently been established by state legislatures in California, Oregon, Colorado, and Maine.
  2. Create a bottle deposit program, which has been shown to generate very high recycling rates for beverage containers.

Sen. Christine Rolfes (D- Bainbridge Island) adds, “The WRAP Act will put in place incentives for companies to reduce packaging and use materials that are reusable, compostable, or actually recyclable. Furthermore, we have the potential to support local recycling businesses and build supply chains, while also improving recycling access across the state.” 

For some Washingtonians, the cost of recycling services increased by as much as 30% in the last five years. Residents in eleven counties have no access to recycling services at all. The WRAP Act will also require a standardized list of what is recyclable in curbside bins statewide, eliminating a confusing web of different municipalities accepting different materials.

“For too long, companies have put the responsibility of recycling and disposing of paper, plastic, and other packaging on the shoulders of individuals and local communities,” stated Kent City Councilmember Brenda Fincher. “The WRAP Act will help expand and improve recycling services for Washingtonians by ensuring that companies work with communities for cleaner, greener Washington.”

The policies included in the WRAP Act are supported by a diverse set of stakeholders, from businesses, to solid waste managers and local community leaders, youth activists, and environmentalists.


Environment Washington is a statewide environmental advocacy organization working for a cleaner, greener, healthier future.

Latino Community Fund of Washington  cultivates new leaders, supports cultural and community based non-profit organizations, and improves the quality of life for all Washingtonians.

Oceana is the largest international advocacy organization dedicated solely to ocean conservation. Oceana is rebuilding abundant and biodiverse oceans by winning science-based policies in countries that control one third of the world’s wild fish catch.

Puget Soundkeeper’s mission is to protect and enhance the waters of Puget Sound for the health and restoration of our aquatic ecosystems and the communities that depend on them.

Seattle Aquarium’s mission is to inspire conservation of our marine environment.

Surfrider Foundation is dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world’s ocean, waves and beaches, for all people, through a powerful activist network.


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