Wildlife over Waste
Nothing we use for a few minutes should pollute the environment and harm wildlife for hundreds of years. Plastic pollution is creating an environmental disaster for ocean wildlife: plastic and other marine debris kills millions of sea turtles, seabirds and marine mammals every year. Plastic also contributes to climate change at every step of its lifecycle, from production to pollution. It’s time to move beyond single-use plastic by getting rid of the most harmful waste, and stopping the use of things we truly don’t need. That’s why Environment Washington supports:
- Holding producers responsible for the waste they create. Passing an extended producer program in Washington will aim to incentivize producers to reduce their use of packaging and build products that are less hazardous, built to last, and are easy to recycle or reuse by requiring that producers are responsible for some waste costs associated with their products, including waste collection, transportation and management. We support passage of SB 5697 to renew Washington's recycling system and reduce waste.
- Phasing out unnecessary single-use plastics we can live without. Washington has been a leader in banning some of the worst kinds of single-use plastics, like thin-film plastic grocery bags and polystyrene cups, food containers, packing peanuts, and more. Environment Washington will be watchdogging the implementation of Washington’s recently passed plastic reduction policies to ensure they’re implemented as strongly as possible.
Save Our Orcas
Fewer than 75 Southern Resident orcas remain today. The population was listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act in 2005; its population since then has continued to decline. The population continues to struggle with reduced quantity and quality of their main food source, Chinook salmon, pollutants that could cause immune or reproductive dysfunction, and excess vessel noise which can interfere with their hunting. Environment Washington supports:
Removal of dams including the lower four Snake River dams to promote salmon restoration
Eliminating pollution in the Salish region
Restoring salmon habitat through improving marine, freshwater, and riparian environments throughout the state of Washington and the greater range of the Southern Resident orcas. We support passage of SB 5665 to protect, restore, and maintain habitat for salmon recovery.
Right to Repair
The throwaway economy causes us to generate too much waste, in the form of single-use plastics and packaging as well as short-lived consumer objects. Americans dispose of 416,000 cell phones per day, and only 15 to 20 percent of electronic waste is recycled. Consumers and small businesses should have access to the parts, tools and service information they need to repair products so we can keep things in use and reduce waste. We support passage of HB 1810 to promote fair servicing and repair of electronic products and HB1801.
Clean, Renewable and Efficient Energy
Reaching Washington's commitment to 100% clean energy by 2045 requires taking serious action. That's why Environment Washington supports:
Clean, All-Electric Buildings. We have the ability to harness clean, abundant energy from the sun, the wind and the earth, and to fully repower our society with 100 percent renewable sources. To maximize the benefits we get from clean electricity, we need to change how we heat and power our homes and buildings by moving away from on-site fossil fuel combustion and towards efficient, electrified heating and cooling systems and appliances. Environment Washington supports requiring that new construction use all electric appliances and be wired for solar panels and electric vehicle charging through policies like HB1770 and SB5669.
Promoting Solar. Solar energy is a clean, affordable way for households and communities to meet their energy needs. Environment Washington supports bills to expand the scope of and access to solar in Washington.
Destination: Zero Carbon
Transportation is the number one source of our state and country’s carbon pollution, as well as contributing to air and water pollution which has significant health impacts. To slow global warming and reduce this pollution, we need to change how Washingtonians get around. New federal funding makes investing in clean transportation more accessible for Washington. We support:
Electrifying cars. We’re calling for all new cars and trucks sold in the state to be electric by 2030. We support legislation to facilitate the shift to a cleaner, electric car future, like HB 1793.
Driving less, living more. We need to reduce the need to drive by making it easier, cheaper and more enjoyable to travel on foot, bike or public transit and investing in multi-modal transportation.
Electrifying buses. Dirty diesel school buses add to our carbon emissions while putting millions of children at risk of cancer and respiratory diseases. We’re calling for all school and public transit buses to be electric by 2030. To get there, we’re asking local, state and regional officials to replace diesel-powered school buses and public transit buses with clean electric buses.
Get the Lead Out
Lead is a potent neurotoxin and it affects how our children learn, grow and behave. Our children's drinking water is at risk wherever we have faucets, fountains, or plumbing made with lead. While Washington state made strides in 2021 to better protect public school students and faculty members, there is more to be done to protect all Washingtonians from the dangers of lead. Environment Washington supports:
Protect Our Forests
Our forests, terrestrial and aquatic, in Washington and across the globe, provide habitat for critical species and help us fight climate change. We support protecting critical forest and trees from logging, degradation and deforestation, and policies like SB 5619 and HB 1661 that sets a target to conserve and restore at least 10,000 acres of kelp forests and eelgrass meadows by 2040.
Human development has fragmented key habitats into disparate populations. If these populations remain separated, species will be unable to adapt to climate change because of shrinking genetic diversity. Many salmon species are endangered due to disruptions in their migration from the sea to inland headwaters. Further, animals that try to cross roads that cut through their previous migratory routes cause increased animal-motorist collisions. We support investments in infrastructure that reconnect nature, making it easier for wildlife to migrate, locate food and find mates.
Environment Washington’s Mission
Washington’s natural wonders, from the basalt cliffs along the Columbia River, to the wondrous wildlife of the Salish Sea and the alpine peaks of the Olympic Mountains enrich our lives in countless ways. At Environment Washington, we know it takes independent research and tough-minded advocacy to protect these special places and win concrete results for clean air and clean water. We speak out and take action at the local, state and national levels to improve the quality of our environment and our lives.