Policy Update

Washington Enacts Law to Reduce Organic Waste and Expand Collection

March 31, 2022

Region

Northwest

NCEL Point of Contact

Mara Herman
Environmental Health Manager

Contact

On March 25, Washington enacted a law (HB 1799) to reduce organic waste disposal 75% by 2030 and widely expand collection. The law defines organic waste as manure, yard debris, food waste, food processing waste, wood waste, and garden waste.

Why HB 1799 Matters

This is a big step forward in improving management of organic materials, putting what used to be waste to productive use, and reducing the potent greenhouse gas, methane, from landfills. The law sets two major targets:

  • Reduce organic waste disposal 75% by 2030 
  • Increase the volume of edible food recovery 20% by 2025

Organics recyclers support the new law as it will increase composting accessibility throughout the state and keep organic materials out of landfills. 

Implementation of HB 1799

By 2024, businesses with at least eight cubic yards of weekly organic waste would be required to have on-site management or collection services in place. The threshold drops each year until 2027 when local governments would also have to offer a collection service.

The law requires certain local governments to adopt compost procurement requirements, expands funding to support farm usage of compost, requires new local regulations to allow for the siting of organics processing facilities, establishes first-in-the-nation label and color standards for compostable products, updates liability standards for food donation, and creates a Washington Center for Sustainable Food Management.