State of Washington
66th Legislature
2019 Regular Session
ByHouse Appropriations (originally sponsored by Representatives Doglio, Slatter, Fey, Peterson, Ryu, Fitzgibbon, Tharinger, Jinkins, Macri, and Walen)
AN ACT Relating to reducing the wasting of food in order to fight hunger and reduce environmental impacts; amending RCW 70.93.180 and 70.95.090; adding a new section to chapter 70.95 RCW; and creating a new section.
NEW SECTION.  Sec. 1. (1) The legislature finds that the wasting of food represents a misuse of resources, including the water, land, energy, labor, and capital that go into growing, harvesting, processing, transporting, and retailing food for human consumption. Wasting edible food occurs all along the food production supply chain, and reducing the waste of edible food is a goal that can be achieved only with the collective efforts of growers, processors, distributors, retailers, consumers of food, and food bankers and related charities. Inedible food waste can be managed in ways that reduce negative environmental impacts and provide beneficial results to the land, air, soil, and energy infrastructure. Efforts to reduce the waste of food and expand the diversion of food waste to beneficial end uses will also require the mindful support of government policies that shape the behavior and waste reduction opportunities of each of those participants in the food supply chain.
(2) Every year, American consumers, businesses, and farms spend billions of dollars growing, processing, transporting, and disposing of food that is never eaten. That represents tens of millions of tons of food sent to landfills annually, plus millions of tons more that are discarded or left unharvested on farms. Worldwide, the United Nations food and agriculture organization has estimated that if one-fourth of the food lost or wasted globally could be saved, it would be enough to feed eight hundred seventy million hungry people. Meanwhile, one in eight Americans is food insecure, including one in six children. Recent data from the department of ecology indicate that Washington is not immune to food waste problems, and recent estimates indicate that seventeen percent of all garbage sent to Washington disposal facilities is food waste, including eight percent that is food that was determined to be edible at the time of disposal. In recognition of the widespread benefits that would accrue from reductions in food waste, in 2015, the administrator of the United States environmental protection agency and the secretary of the United States department of agriculture announced a national goal of reducing food waste by fifty percent by 2030. The Pacific Coast collaborative recently agreed to a similar commitment of halving food waste by 2030, including efforts to prevent, rescue, and recover wasted food.
(3) By establishing state wasted food reduction goals and developing a state wasted food reduction strategy, it is the intent of the legislature to continue its national leadership in solid waste reduction efforts by:
(a) Improving efficiencies in the food production and distribution system in order to reduce the cradle to grave greenhouse gas emissions associated with wasted food;
(b) Fighting hunger by more efficiently diverting surplus food to feed hungry individuals and families in need; and
(c) Supporting expansion of management facilities for inedible food waste to improve access and facility performance while reducing the volumes of food that flow through those facilities.
NEW SECTION.  Sec. 2. A new section is added to chapter 70.95 RCW to read as follows:
(1) A goal is established for the state to reduce by fifty percent the amount of food waste generated annually by 2030, relative to 2015 levels. A subset of this goal must include a prevention goal to reduce the amount of edible food that is wasted.
(2) The department may estimate 2015 levels of wasted food in Washington using any combination of solid waste reporting data obtained under this chapter and surveys and studies measuring wasted food and food waste in other jurisdictions. For the purposes of measuring progress towards the goal in subsection (1) of this section, the department must adopt standardized metrics and processes for measuring or estimating volumes of wasted food and food waste generated in the state.
(3) By October 1, 2020, the department, in consultation with the department of agriculture and the department of health, must develop and adopt a state wasted food reduction and food waste diversion plan designed to achieve the goal established in subsection (1) of this section.
(a) The wasted food reduction and food waste diversion plan must include strategies, in descending order of priority, to:
(i) Prevent and reduce the wasting of edible food by residents and businesses;
(ii) Help match and support the capacity for edible food that would otherwise be wasted with food banks and other distributors that will ensure the food reaches those who need it; and
(iii) Support productive uses of inedible food materials, including using it for animal feed, energy production through anaerobic digestion, or other commercial uses, and for off-site or on-site management systems including composting, vermicomposting, or other biological systems.
(b) The wasted food reduction and food waste diversion plan must be designed to:
(i) Recommend a regulatory environment that optimizes activities and processes to rescue safe, nutritious, edible food;
(ii) Recommend a funding environment in which stable, predictable resources are provided to wasted food prevention and rescue and food waste recovery activities in such a way as to allow the development of additional capacity and the use of new technologies;
(iii) Avoid placing burdensome regulations on the hunger relief system, and ensure that organizations involved in wasted food prevention and rescue, and food waste recovery, retain discretion to accept or reject donations of food when appropriate;
(iv) Provide state technical support to wasted food prevention and rescue and food waste recovery organizations; and
(v) Support the development and distribution of equitable materials to support food waste and wasted food educational and programmatic efforts in K-12 schools, in collaboration with the office of the superintendent of public instruction, and aligned with the Washington state science and social studies learning standards.
(c) The wasted food reduction and food waste diversion plan must include suggested best practices that local governments may incorporate into solid waste management plans developed under RCW 70.95.080.
(d) The department must solicit feedback from the public and interested stakeholders throughout the process of developing and adopting the wasted food reduction and food waste diversion plan. To assist with its food waste reduction plan development responsibilities, the department may designate a stakeholder advisory panel. If the department designates a stakeholder advisory panel, it must consist of representatives of each of the two largest caucuses of the house of representatives and each of the two largest caucuses of the senate, respectively invited upon designation by the speaker of the house of representatives and the president of the senate, and, at minimum: Local government health departments, local government solid waste departments, food banks, hunger-focused nonprofit organizations, waste-focused nonprofit organizations, K-12 public education, and food businesses or food business associations.
(e) The department must identify the sources of scientific, economic, or other technical information it relied upon in developing the plan required under this section, including peer-reviewed science.
(f) In conjunction with the development of the wasted food reduction and food waste diversion plan, the department and the departments of agriculture and health must consider recommending changes to state law in order to achieve the goal established in subsection (1) of this section. Any such recommendations must be explained via a report to the legislature submitted consistent with RCW 43.01.036 by December 1, 2020. Prior to any implementation of the plan, for the activities, programs, or policies in the plan that would impose new obligations on state agencies, local governments, businesses, or citizens, the December 1, 2020, report must outline the plan for making regulatory changes identified in the report. This outline must include the department or the appropriate state agency's plan to make recommendations for statutory or administrative rule changes identified. In combination with any identified statutory or administrative rule changes, the department or the appropriate state agency must include expected cost estimates for both government entities and private persons or businesses to comply with any recommended changes.
(4) In support of the development of the plan in subsection (3) of this section, the department of commerce must contract for an independent evaluation of the state's food waste and wasted food management system.
(5) The definitions in this subsection apply throughout this section unless the context clearly requires otherwise.
(a)(i) "Food waste" means waste from fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy products, fish, shellfish, nuts, seeds, grains, and similar materials that results from the storage, preparation, cooking, handling, selling, or serving of food for human consumption.
(ii) "Food waste" includes, but is not limited to, excess, spoiled, or unusable food and includes inedible parts commonly associated with food preparation such as pits, shells, bones, and peels. "Food waste" does not include dead animals not intended for human consumption or animal excrement.
(b) "Prevention" refers to avoiding the wasting of food in the first place and represents the greatest potential for cost savings and environmental benefits for businesses, governments, and consumers.
(c) "Recovery" refers to processing inedible food waste to extract value from it, through composting, anaerobic digestion, or for use as animal feedstock.
(d) "Rescue" refers to the redistribution of surplus edible food to other users.
(e) "Wasted food" means the edible portion of food waste.
Sec. 3. RCW 70.93.180 and 2015 c 15 s 3 are each amended to read as follows:
(1) There is hereby created an account within the state treasury to be known as the waste reduction, recycling, and litter control account. Moneys in the account may be spent only after appropriation. Expenditures from the waste reduction, recycling, and litter control account shall be used as follows:
(a) Fifty percent to the department of ecology, for use by the departments of ecology, natural resources, revenue, transportation, and corrections, and the parks and recreation commission, for use in litter collection programs, to be distributed under RCW 70.93.220. The amount to the department of ecology shall also be used for a central coordination function for litter control efforts statewide; for statewide public awareness programs under RCW 70.93.200(7); and to support employment of youth in litter cleanup as intended in RCW 70.93.020, and for litter pick up using other authorized agencies. The amount to the department shall also be used to defray the costs of administering the funding, coordination, and oversight of local government programs for waste reduction, litter control, recycling, and composting so that local governments can apply one hundred percent of their funding to achieving program goals. The amount to the department of revenue shall be used to enforce compliance with the litter tax imposed in chapter 82.19 RCW;
(b)(i) Twenty percent to the department for local government funding programs for waste reduction, litter control, recycling activities, and composting activities by cities and counties under RCW 70.93.250, to be administered by the department of ecology; (ii) any unspent funds under (b)(i) of this subsection may be used to create and pay for a matching fund competitive grant program to be used by local governments and nonprofit organizations for local or statewide education programs designed to help the public with litter control, waste reduction, recycling, and composting of primarily the products taxed under chapter 82.19 RCW. Recipients under this subsection include programs to reduce wasted food and food waste that are designed to achieve the goals established in section 2(1) of this act and that are consistent with the plan developed in section 2(3) of this act. Grants must adhere to the following requirements: (A) No grant may exceed sixty thousand dollars; (B) grant recipients shall match the grant funding allocated by the department by an amount equal to twenty-five percent of eligible expenses. A local government's share of these costs may be met by cash or contributed services; (C) the obligation of the department to make grant payments is contingent upon the availability of the amount of money appropriated for this subsection (1)(b); and (D) grants are managed under the guidelines for existing grant programs; and
(c) Thirty percent to the department of ecology to: (i) Implement activities under RCW 70.93.200 for waste reduction, recycling, and composting efforts; (ii) provide technical assistance to local governments for commercial business and residential recycling programs primarily for the products taxed under chapter 82.19 RCW designed to educate citizens about waste reduction, litter control, and recyclable and compostable products and programs; ((and)) (iii) increase access to waste reduction, composting, and recycling programs, particularly for food packaging and plastic bags and appropriate composting techniques; and (iv) for programs to reduce wasted food and food waste that are designed to achieve the goals established in section 2(1) of this act and that are consistent with the plan developed in section 2(3) of this act.
(2) All taxes imposed in RCW 82.19.010 and fines and bail forfeitures collected or received pursuant to this chapter shall be deposited in the waste reduction, recycling, and litter control account and used for the programs under subsection (1) of this section.
(3) Not less than five percent and no more than ten percent of the amount appropriated into the waste reduction, recycling, and litter control account every biennium shall be reserved for capital needs, including the purchase of vehicles for transporting crews and for collecting litter and solid waste. Capital funds shall be distributed among state agencies and local governments according to the same criteria provided in RCW 70.93.220 for the remainder of the funds, so that the most effective waste reduction, litter control, recycling, and composting programs receive the most funding. The intent of this subsection is to provide funds for the purchase of equipment that will enable the department to account for the greatest return on investment in terms of reaching a zero litter goal.
(4) Funds in the waste reduction, recycling, and litter control account, collected under chapter 82.19 RCW, must be prioritized for the products identified under RCW 82.19.020 solely for the purposes of recycling, composting, and litter collection, reduction, and control programs.
Sec. 4. RCW 70.95.090 and 1991 c 298 s 3 are each amended to read as follows:
Each county and city comprehensive solid waste management plan shall include the following:
(1) A detailed inventory and description of all existing solid waste handling facilities including an inventory of any deficiencies in meeting current solid waste handling needs.
(2) The estimated long-range needs for solid waste handling facilities projected twenty years into the future.
(3) A program for the orderly development of solid waste handling facilities in a manner consistent with the plans for the entire county which shall:
(a) Meet the minimum functional standards for solid waste handling adopted by the department and all laws and regulations relating to air and water pollution, fire prevention, flood control, and protection of public health;
(b) Take into account the comprehensive land use plan of each jurisdiction;
(c) Contain a six year construction and capital acquisition program for solid waste handling facilities; and
(d) Contain a plan for financing both capital costs and operational expenditures of the proposed solid waste management system.
(4) A program for surveillance and control.
(5) A current inventory and description of solid waste collection needs and operations within each respective jurisdiction which shall include:
(a) Any franchise for solid waste collection granted by the utilities and transportation commission in the respective jurisdictions including the name of the holder of the franchise and the address of his or her place of business and the area covered by the franchise;
(b) Any city solid waste operation within the county and the boundaries of such operation;
(c) The population density of each area serviced by a city operation or by a franchised operation within the respective jurisdictions;
(d) The projected solid waste collection needs for the respective jurisdictions for the next six years.
(6) A comprehensive waste reduction and recycling element that, in accordance with the priorities established in RCW 70.95.010, provides programs that (a) reduce the amount of waste generated, (b) provide incentives and mechanisms for source separation, and (c) establish recycling opportunities for the source separated waste.
(7) The waste reduction and recycling element shall include the following:
(a) Waste reduction strategies, which may include strategies to reduce wasted food and food waste that are designed to achieve the goals established in section 2(1) of this act and that are consistent with the plan developed in section 2(3) of this act;
(b) Source separation strategies, including:
(i) Programs for the collection of source separated materials from residences in urban and rural areas. In urban areas, these programs shall include collection of source separated recyclable materials from single and multiple-family residences, unless the department approves an alternative program, according to the criteria in the planning guidelines. Such criteria shall include: Anticipated recovery rates and levels of public participation, availability of environmentally sound disposal capacity, access to markets for recyclable materials, unreasonable cost impacts on the ratepayer over the six-year planning period, utilization of environmentally sound waste reduction and recycling technologies, and other factors as appropriate. In rural areas, these programs shall include but not be limited to drop-off boxes, buy-back centers, or a combination of both, at each solid waste transfer, processing, or disposal site, or at locations convenient to the residents of the county. The drop-off boxes and buy-back centers may be owned or operated by public, nonprofit, or private persons;
(ii) Programs to monitor the collection of source separated waste at nonresidential sites where there is sufficient density to sustain a program;
(iii) Programs to collect yard waste and food waste, if the county or city submitting the plan finds that there are adequate markets or capacity for composted yard waste and food waste within or near the service area to consume the majority of the material collected; and
(iv) Programs to educate and promote the concepts of waste reduction and recycling;
(c) Recycling strategies, including a description of markets for recyclables, a review of waste generation trends, a description of waste composition, a discussion and description of existing programs and any additional programs needed to assist public and private sector recycling, and an implementation schedule for the designation of specific materials to be collected for recycling, and for the provision of recycling collection services;
(d) Other information the county or city submitting the plan determines is necessary.
(8) An assessment of the plan's impact on the costs of solid waste collection. The assessment shall be prepared in conformance with guidelines established by the utilities and transportation commission. The commission shall cooperate with the Washington state association of counties and the association of Washington cities in establishing such guidelines.
(9) A review of potential areas that meet the criteria as outlined in RCW 70.95.165.
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