An Act to Reduce Plastic Pollution (HB 1085) is a bill championed by newly elected Representative Sharlett Mena. This law will reduce plastic pollution from three sources:
1. Foam from floating docks: Banning foam-filled docks and floats will reduce a pervasive source of plastic pollution in Washington's waters. Many docks use floats that are made of or filled with plastic foam. When damaged, they continuously leak bits of plastic foam that contain toxic chemicals which harm wildlife, pollute our waterways, and are impossible to clean up. Foam-free docking—filled simply with air—is a readily available alternative that can be used in the same applications at a similar cost.
2. Plastic water bottles: Requires refill stations wherever a drinking fountain is installed in all new buildings. This will make the use of reusable water bottles easier and more accessible. Currently, refill stations are only required in new educational buildings in Washington. We want people to be able to bring their own reusable bottles and get them refilled everywhere there is a water fountain.
3. Single-use hotel mini-bottles: Phasing out mini personal care plastic packaging (shampoos, conditions, lotions, and soaps) at hotels and other lodging establishments will help eliminate unnecessary, hard-to-recycle plastic waste. Instead, hotels will install bulk dispensers or use non-plastic packaging (such as cardboard sleeves for soap bars, cotton swabs, and shower caps). It's important to note that the hospitality industry was supportive of this because of cost savings.
Surfrider Washington worked with our partners in the Plastic Free WA / WA Sin Plástico Coalition to pass this important bill during the 2023 legislative session. Our chapter network engaged their volunteers by signing in PRO to bill hearings, writing their legislators and by sharing photos of beach debris found during cleanups with bill advocates.
For more information, head to our Washington Region Blog Post