Washington State House Democrats


House approves Mead bill tackling the recycling crisis in Washington

Lawmaker’s first bill would revamp our state’s recycling system by setting up markets for plastic and other materials

OLYMPIA–What can we do about all of the recyclable material in Washington state now that China is no longer accepting it?

“Unless we do something, the cardboard, plastic and cans that you and I are used to recycling will fill up our landfills,” said Rep. Jared Mead (D-Mill Creek), who wrote House Bill 1543 to address the crisis.

“We’ve all seen the upsetting images of wildlife like birds, turtles and other fish with plastic garbage stuck around their throats or filling their stomachs,” Mead said during his speech on the House floor in support of the legislation. “And we’ve all walked the beautiful Washington shores in the summer and had to be careful to avoid stepping on the broken glass or sharp plastic trash laying around. This is a man-made problem. It requires a man-made solution.”

The legislation would do two things: First, find ways to reduce contamination in our recycling stream through education and outreach, and second, develop new markets in Washington for recyclable materials so Washington state can be self-reliant and sustainable.

The bill advanced with support from lawmakers in both parties, passing 64-32.

It is Mead’s first bill to pass the House.

“I’m proud to bring this legislation before the people’s House,” Mead said, “because it uses market forces to achieve a common goal: a cleaner, healthier Washington state.”