The Organics Management to Reduce Methane Gas and Food Waste stakeholders’ group has begun meeting to discuss how Washington state should reduce the creation of methane gas due to food discarded as waste into landfills. These efforts will likely directly impact retailers selling produce and other organic products/foods.
State Reps. Beth Doglio and Joe Fitzgibbon are overseeing a combined process with the intent to introduce legislation during the 2024 Legislative Session. Washington Retail and approximately 80 other stakeholders representing impacted industries, businesses, governmental agencies, and individuals will meet twice monthly until December when they will make recommendations and release findings for consideration by the legislators.
Food and other organic waste make up a considerable amount of landfill deposits, which creates methane gas as it degrades. Several states and municipalities, most notably California, are implementing programs to reduce waste and methane gas emissions. Strategies include turning the waste into compost and energy used to enrich soil and power machinery. Additionally, a key focus is making the most of edible food by distributing it to those in need through food banks and other hunger-fighting organizations.
WR will work closely with all stakeholders to ensure any proposed changes and requirements consider the specific business models and needs of retailers that sell groceries. At this time, Washington State has a long way to go to set up the infrastructure to accommodate significant increases in the amount of composting and energy generation envisioned. Stay tuned for future updates as the twice-monthly stakeholder meetings continue.