Back state legislation to tax companies for plastic packaging

Plastic: It’s everywhere, filling our landfills, polluting the environment, and inside our food. It takes centuries to decompose but is only used for a few minutes. We all know it’s an issue, but how can we address it?

We’re often told it’s the consumer’s responsibility. After all, don’t businesses respond to customer demand? I tried living waste-free for several years, and it’s difficult, to say the least. Everything we buy comes wrapped in plastic, rarely with any alternative. Even when you think you’re succeeding, there’s single-use plastic behind-the-scenes. How was your food delivered to the grocery store? How was your shirt shipped from factory to retailer?

We can’t pressure companies to reduce plastic use if we’re neither aware of it nor given an alternative. Luckily, there’s a solution: the WRAP Act. This bill would shift the responsibility of reducing plastic use from consumer to producer by taxing companies for their single-use plastic production and incentivizing a transition to recyclables and less packaging via tax credits.

This money would go toward improving recycling capabilities and access across Washington state; only 58 percent of the state has recycling. But wouldn’t this simply drive up the prices of plastic products, leading to overall higher costs? No; several places have already passed legislation like the WRAP Act, the European Union, Canada, California, and Oregon, for example, and the price of plastic products never increased. If it can succeed elsewhere, it can succeed here.

Call your state legislators and tell them to vote yes on the WRAP Act: Senate 5154/HB 1131.

Evan Butler


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