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Zero Waste Bill in Washington DC

01 • 01 • 2021

Zero Waste Bill in Washington DC

Passed the Zero Waste Bill of 2020 in Washington DC to increase recycling rates, implement composting, and reduce the amount of trash going to landfills and incinerators.

Victory! DC Mayor Muriel Bowser signed this bill into law on December 22, 2020. The bill was only introduced in October of 2020, so the DC Chapter did not have a lot of time to get involved, however, Chair Charlotte Runzel was in communication with bill sponsor staff, and the Chapter promoted an action alert.

Like everywhere else in the country, Washington DC struggles with its solid waste and recycling systems since China stopped taking so much of our waste and recyclables. DC sends 77 percent of solid waste to landfills, and continues to incinerate trash, impacting public health and the environment.

Proper recycling and composting procedures benefit natural resources and help fight climate change, while saving taxpayer dollars and providing jobs for underskilled and underemployed workers. Fortunately, there’s an effort to improve recycling in DC. Introduced in Fall 2020, the Zero Waste Act ensure sthe District of Columbia:

  • Provides comprehensive organics site management and recycling infrastructure;
  • Enhances the recycling process by requiring a uniform labeling scheme;
  • Requires waste collectors to address contamination in recyclables and compostables;
  • Requires the Mayor to impose a surcharge on recycling disposed of at District transfer stations when they exceed a contamination threshold;
  • Ensures less waste when providing food for consumption by requiring only reusable foodware for in restaurant dining and take out utensils only provided by request;
  • Establishes a reuse and donation program to reduce waste in landfills and incinerators.