Yesterday, Governor Inslee signed Senate Bill 5022, a comprehensive bill that puts Washington on the right path to solving our plastic pollution problem. Over the past four months, I have been working with a dedicated coalition and have interacted with hundreds of Washingtonians about one thing: putting wildlife over waste and finding solutions to our plastic waste problem.
Being a new organizer, I was nervous to start my outreach because I thought, “Are Washingtonians ready to give up the abundance of plastics in order to save our wildlife?” What I found is that Washingtonians are ready for bold action-- it is just a matter of engaging with each other, putting our heads together, and convincing our legislators that our plastic problem is urgent and needs to be addressed.
We had the pleasure of meeting with so many individuals ranging from activists, to artists, to concerned citizens, to scientists. All of them had one thing in common: a passion for preventing plastic pollution. We were so inspired by them, we put together a website called "Washingtonians Against Waste" to show all the good work our Evergreen community does to tackle this urgent problem.
We spoke with hundreds of restaurant owners, including the mom and pop shops that have been an integral part of our communities for decades. And every restaurant owner we talked to was more than happy to support the banning foam containers in order to save our wildlife.
We also asked regular folks to call your legislators and demand bold action to curb our plastic waste, and you did. We generated countless phone calls into the Washington legislature, encouraging our lawmakers to support the bill banning foam and reducing single-use plastics.
These actions, combined with the actions taken by our coalition partners and other Washingtonians across the state helped build the momentum needed to get our bill over the finish line.
The Washington legislature listened to Washingtonians' calls for cleaner oceans, and healthier wildlife and passed SB 5022, which includes a ban on polystyrene foam, request only for single-use utensils, straws, cup lids and condiment packaging, and a minimum recycled content mandate for plastic beverage bottles, household cleaning products and personal care products. It is a huge step forward in preventing plastic pollution.
This victory goes to show that when we come together to make our voices heard on issues that we care about, anything is possible.
Cover image by Free-Photos from Pixabay
Coalition image by Alyssa Barton from Puget Soundkeeper Alliance