2010 Legislative Update

Recycling Mercury-Containing Lights – ESSB 5543

On March 19, 2010, residents, environmental groups, and governments celebrated as Governor Christine Gregoire signed into law landmark legislation making Washington state the second state in the nation to require producers of mercury-containing lighting products to fund their recycling. See the complete bill text (PDF).

Beginning in 2013, residents will be able to bring fluorescent bulbs and tubes to recycling sites, which may be run by local retailers, recycling centers, governments, and others. There will be no fee for dropping off these lights.

In the new system, manufacturers will pay for the recycling of the lighting products that their industry creates.  This producer responsibility or product stewardship approach, already used in Maine, Canada and by many countries in Europe and Asia, is similar to the Electronics Product Recycling Law which created the successful “E-Cycle Washington” program for TVs, computers and monitors. E-Cycle collected 38 million pounds of TVs, computers and monitors across the state in its first year of operation in 2009.

Safe Baby Bottle Act –SSB 6248

The Safe Baby Bottle Act eliminates BPA from baby bottles, sippy cups, and other food and beverage containers intended for children 3 years of age and under beginning July 2011. It also bans BPA in sports bottles beginning July 2012. Washington is the fifth state to prohibit the chemical in children’s food containers and drinking cups. Washington State is the second state in the nation with the sports bottle prohibition.  See the complete bill text (PDF).

Secure Medicine Return Bill – 2SSB 5279/2SHB 1165

Legislation that would have required pharmaceutical manufacturers to provide and pay for a medicine return program throughout Washington State ran in the 2010 legislative session.  February 16th marked the Washington State Legislature’s deadline for passing bills out of the house of origin. Neither the House nor Senate brought the Secure Medicine Return bill to a floor vote, therefore ending the bills progress for the session.  See the complete bill text.

Learn more about the Secure Medicine Return bill and drug take-back programs at www.medicinereturn.com.

Media coverage of the legislation above:

Legislation is a boost to fluorescent light recycling, March 18, 2010
Green progress in Olympia, March 22, 2010
Gregoire signs safe-plastic law, March 20, 2010
Wash. governor signs ban on BPA in baby bottles, March 19, 2010
Wash. becomes second state to ban BPA in sports bottles; fifth to act on children’s dishware, March 19, 2010
More States Took in Expired Meds in 2009, January 20, 2010
VIDEO: Governor Christine Gregoire Signing Bills into Law.