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Governor signs Mead's law to revamp the state’s recycling system

Washington state is now on the forefront of tackling a global problem: what do to about all the recyclable cardboard, plastic and cans now that China is no longer accepting them. Governor Inslee signed Representative Jared Mead's recycling bill into law on April 29, 2019. 
Gov. Jay Inslee signs House Bill No. 1543 on April 29, 2019 while bracketed by prime sponsor Rep. Jared Mead (right) and Sen. Mona Das (left). Photo courtesy of Washington State Legislature.

From a May 2, 2019, Washington State Legislature news release.

Washington state is now on the forefront of tackling a global problem: What do to about all the recyclable cardboard, plastic and cans now that China is no longer accepting them.

Governor Inslee signed Representative Jared Mead's recycling bill into law on April 29, 2019. The bill passed the House on a bipartisan vote of 64-32 and passed the Senate 34-13.

“This is about working together for a cleaner, healthier Washington state,” said said Representative Jared Mead (D-Mill Creek), who wrote House Bill 1543.

During the debate when the House voted on the legislation, he said, “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. 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.”

To handle the problem, the new law attempts to:

(1) Find ways to reduce contamination in our recycling stream through education and outreach, and

(2) Develop new local markets for recyclable materials so that Washington state can be self-reliant and sustainable.

“Preserving our planet for future generations should be one of our top priorities as lawmakers — and that’s why I sponsored the Senate version of this bill,” said Senator Mona Das (D-Kent).

She went on to say, “We know that our recycling practices and policies are changing, so we’re taking an innovative approach for planning for our future. It was an honor to work with the Department of Ecology and Representative Mead, who sponsored the House bill. This bill will help our state lead the nation in becoming greener and more sustainable.”

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