New bill aims to reduce waste by cutting down on unnecessary packaging

SEATTLE — Confused about recycling? A new bill announced Wednesday could fix that.

Washington state Sen. Christine Rolfes and Rep. Liz Berry are backing the Washington Recycling and Packaging Act.

The so-called WRAP Act is aimed at reducing waste by cutting back on the growing amount of unnecessary packaging.

Rolfes said half of all paper and packaging material in Washington ends up in landfills and incinerators.

The proposed legislation would hold companies responsible for managing and improving recycling, while at the same time offering incentives to reduce waste.

Lawmakers and environmentalists hope this will help cut the amount of plastics getting into our waterways.

“One thing that the WRAP Act would do (is) establish a harmonized list across the state of Washington of what you can and cannot put in your recycle bin,” said Pam Clough, advocate with Environment Washington.

Clough hopes that will help clear up some of the confusion and also reduce the cost to consumers.

Research shows all the extra packaging pouring into homes is costing Washingtonians more. Recycling bills have increased by up to 30% in the past five years.

The bill still needs approval from the U.S House and the Senate.