Plastics Recycling Update

Another state PCR mandate is signed into law

Exterior of Washington State Capitol in Olympia

More products could be added into the recycled plastic mandate in the future. | Lisa von Biela / Shutterstock

Washington state has enacted a law requiring post-consumer recycled plastic be included in beverage containers, trash bags and some household products.

House Bill 5022, which establishes PCR requirements and bans other plastic products, received Gov. Jay Inslee’s signature on May 17, according to his office. The bill previously passed both chambers of the state legislature last month.

It follows similar legislation ushered into law in California last year.

The bill’s first PCR effects will take effect in 2023, when beverages other than dairy milk and wine in 187-milliliter bottles will need to include 15% PCR and trash bags will need to include 10% PCR. Other products – and higher percentages – will phase in in subsequent years.

Expanded polystyrene packing peanuts will be banned from sale and distribution in Washington beginning in June 2023, and expanded polystyrene foodservice packaging materials will be banned in June 2024. These bans drew the ire of plastic producers.

The bill also establishes a stakeholder advisory group that will make recommendations on bringing additional plastic packaging materials into the recycled content mandate.

Waste Dive first reported on the governor’s action.

A similar minimum-recycled-content bill cleared both legislative chambers in Washington in 2020, but Inslee, a Democrat, vetoed the legislation. He cited economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, noting that the recycled-content mandate would require government expenditures in administration and enforcement.

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