Organic food management substitute bill addresses concerns

Feb 1, 2024
Written by WR Communications


HB 2301 and SB 6180 propose seven major programs to improve food waste management. WR and many who testified at the Senate and House Environment & Energy Committee hearings supported the bills’ intent—with various concerns. The following is a summary of WR’s comments and a subsequent substitute bill published in response:

Many larger grocers currently use third parties to process edible foods for food banks, convert the rest through anaerobic digestion to biogas, and then provide digestate for agricultural purposes. WR asked for policies to ensure that food management ordinances enacted by local municipalities will not limit access to alternative mechanisms for businesses of any size.

  • In response, sec. 301 (e) in SHB 2301 requires Ecology to adopt standards under which local jurisdictions may exempt entities from the local sour-separated organic solid waste collection services.

Section 4 includes two mandates with feasibility concerns:

Establishing a Washington food date labeling standard effective January 1, 2026. This may cause consumer confusion because the Federal Food and Drug Administration plans to issue new rules with the same effective date.

  • In response, the food date labeling requirement section was eliminated altogether.

Requiring all produce stickers to be compostable by January 1, 2028. Many testified about the availability and quality of technology. For grocers and consumers, compromising the adhesiveness of produce stickers will cause a logistical inconvenience.

  • In response, sec. 401 now requires Ecology and the Department of Agriculture to produce a summary report on the status of produce sticker technologies and options by September 1, 2025.

However, this proposal’s viability may hinge on whether $25 million in proposed new grant programs is available through the Department of Ecology. Currently, the funding is not included in the Governor’s budget. Both bills were moved out of the House and Senate’s committees this week.


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