WA Legislature passes bill aimed at reducing single-use plastics

In four years, those plastic-wrapped, travel-size bottles of toiletries offered in hotels will become a relic of the past in Washington state.

The Washington State Legislature passed a bill Friday that will require hotels with 50 units or more to phase out single-use plastics, which are often used for personal care products by January 1, 2027. Lodging establishments with fewer than 50 units must meet the requirement by January 1, 2028. Some hotels plan on switching to bulk dispensers for toiletries.

The statewide coalition Plastic Free Washington has worked on various bills to reduce plastic waste, including this latest one to pass. The Seattle Aquarium is part of Plastic Free Washington.

“The Seattle Aquarium’s research team has been studying microplastics in Puget Sound for several years now, taking samples every two weeks,” said Nora Nickum, ocean policy manager at the Seattle Aquarium.

Nickum said the team found microplastics in every one of those samples.

“It’s just clear that this is a local problem. The plastics are coming from here in our region and we need to take action here locally to prevent that.”

The bill also bans the use of polystyrene foam in docks unless the foam is fully encased in a sturdy shell. It also requires water bottle filling station in state building codes to be phased in by 2026. The bill now goes to the governor’s desk for his signature.

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