State of Washington
67th Legislature
2022 Regular Session
ByRepresentatives Harris, Stonier, Ryu, Springer, Shewmake, Bateman, and Slatter
Prefiled 12/22/21.Read first time 01/10/22.Referred to Committee on Environment & Energy.
AN ACT Relating to allowing the labeling of biodegradable products that are supported by recognized national or international test methods; amending RCW 70A.455.030 and 70A.455.040; and creating a new section.
NEW SECTION.  Sec. 1. (1) The legislature finds and declares that it is the public policy of the state that:
(a) Environmental marketing claims for plastic products, whether implicit or implied, should adhere to uniform and recognized test methods for biodegradability. Plastic products marketed as being biodegradable should be readily and easily identifiable by supported third-party scientific test methods.
(b) Legitimate and responsible packaging and plastic product manufacturers are using biodegradable additives in order to enhance biodegradability in plastic products when introduced to landfill, marine, or microbe-rich soil environments. The labeling of products as biodegradable and their use should not be discouraged when they biodegrade in a manner recognized by national and international testing standards organizations in these environmental conditions.
(c) Biodegradable plastic additives are recognized by the federal trade commission and the European Union. The test methods used to verify biodegradability, as developed by the American society for testing and materials and the international organization for standardization, are internationally recognized.
(2) Therefore, it is the intent of the legislature to authorize plastic products that are verified by certain third-party testing methods to be labeled as biodegradable in the state of Washington.
Sec. 2. RCW 70A.455.030 and 2019 c 265 s 3 are each amended to read as follows:
(1) Except as provided in this chapter, no manufacturer or supplier may sell, offer for sale, or distribute for use in this state a plastic product that is labeled with the term (("biodegradable,")) "degradable," "decomposable," "oxo-degradable," or any similar form of those terms, or in any way imply that the plastic product will break down, fragment, ((biodegrade,)) or decompose in a landfill or other environment.
(2)(a) This section does not apply to biodegradable mulch film that meets the required testing and has the appropriate third-party certifications.
(b) This section does not apply to biodegradable products labeled consistent with the requirements of RCW 70A.455.040(3).
Sec. 3. RCW 70A.455.040 and 2019 c 265 s 4 are each amended to read as follows:
(1)(a) A product labeled as "compostable" that is sold, offered for sale, or distributed for use in Washington by a supplier or manufacturer must:
(i) Meet ASTM standard specification D6400;
(ii) Meet ASTM standard specification D6868; or
(iii) Be comprised of wood, which includes renewable wood, or fiber-based substrate only;
(b) A product described in (a)(i) or (ii) of this subsection must:
(i) Meet labeling requirements established under the United States federal trade commission's guides; and
(ii) Feature labeling that:
(A) Meets industry standards for being distinguishable upon quick inspection in both public sorting areas and in processing facilities;
(B) Uses a logo indicating the product has been certified by a recognized third-party independent verification body as meeting the ASTM standard specification; and
(C) Displays the word "compostable," where possible, indicating the product has been tested by a recognized third-party independent body and meets the ASTM standard specification.
(2) A compostable product described in subsection (1)(a)(i) or (ii) of this section must be considered compliant with the requirements of this section if it:
(a) Has green or brown labeling;
(b) Is labeled as compostable; and
(c) Uses distinctive color schemes, green or brown color striping, or other adopted symbols, colors, marks, or design patterns that help differentiate compostable items from noncompostable materials.
(3) A product labeled as "biodegradable" that is sold, offered for sale, or distributed for use in Washington by a supplier or manufacturer must be labeled with the federal trade commission guides and have third-party supported data using the following test methods, as they existed as of January 1, 2022:
(a) ASTM test method D5511;
(b) ASTM test method D5526;
(c) ASTM test method D7475;
(d) ASTM test method D6691 for marine conditions;
(e) ASTM test method D5988;
(f) ISO test method 15985 for accelerated landfill conditions; or
(g) ISO test method 17556 for soil conditions.
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