Single-use plastic can be hard to eliminate, everywhere you turn you find waste. Start with one room at a time and find items that you have to buy consistently. When those items reach the end of their life, search for new alternatives that can reduce your waste.
Start a community cleanup in your neighborhood or local park independently or with organizations that work in Washington State: Beyond Plastic, International Coastal Cleanup, Puget SoundKeeper Alliance.
Simple Ways to Lower Your Waste
Want to find more ways to remove plastic from your life? Check out Fast Company’s guide to help with daily changes.Did you ever hear about Bea Johnson? The woman who put all her and her family trash for a whole year in a single mason jar? She has an amazing website and book called Zero Waste Home that’s filled with recipes so you can lower your waste too! Her website is also home to a bulk finder app with the ability to type what city you live in and it will tell you where you can get bulk items in a myriad of categories.
At the bottom of a plastic product, you often will see a recycling arrow. The arrow doesn’t mean it’s recyclable, rather it indicates what type of plastic it is. What’s recyclable depends on what county or major city you live in. To find out what goes where Washington State Department of Ecology has some helpful hints to Recycle Right.
Support new laws
At the local level – your city or county – or at the state or federal level, the most lasting impact will be the passage of new laws. In recent years, our coalition led the charge to pass a WA statewide ban on plastic bags, built on the many local ordinances that were supported by community groups across the state. In 2021, we are working on a bill (SB5022) to ban styrofoam; require that customers only receive utensils, straws, condiments and cup lids on request; and establish minimum recycled content for plastic beverage containers. Please see below for more details.
The Plastics and Recycling Bill (SB5022), championed by Senator Mona Das, included three key policies that will serve as an important first step in building towards an Extended Producer Responsibility System for Washington:
· Requires that plastic beverage containers and household cleaners and personal care products bottles/jugs contain post-consumer recycled plastic, from a minimum of 50% by 2031 and trash bags of 20% by 2027;
· Bans expanded polystyrene (styrofoam) coolers, food service products, and packing peanuts (June 2023 and June 2024); and
· Requires that restaurants and food service businesses provide straws, utensils, cold cup lids condiment packages and beverage cup lids only on customer affirmation or in self-serve bins (January 1, 2022).