The 2023 Legislature will likely be debating a packaging producer responsibility proposal similar to the legislation adopted in the states of California and Oregon. Stakeholder groups are busy drafting legislation and meeting with legislators. A study to support the legislation was commissioned in anticipation of a fall submission.
Washington Retail (WR) members are very interested in packaging issues and working diligently to reduce the amount of packaging needed for the products they sell. Our members are working with product manufacturers and packaging businesses to develop creative and innovative solutions.
As with most widespread legislation, WR would prefer Congress or a federal agency set a national standard to ensure uniformity across state boundaries. It is always more costly and difficult for multi-state retailers to comply with a patchwork of differing laws and regulations.
A couple of important considerations that any proposal must address include the availability of alternatives and recycled content materials and a reasonable amount of time to properly implement the new requirements and target implementation dates. Remember, Washington State is only 2% of the U.S. market – many manufacturers are reluctant to specially design products and packaging for a smaller number of potential customers, which leads to higher prices, lower availability, and scarcity of certain items.
WR looks forward to working with all stakeholders and legislators on this critical issue. When bill drafts are available, we will review and discuss them with all our members. Stay tuned for future updates.