Washington State Department of Ecology and Washington Community, Trade, and Economic Development, Comprehensive Plan 2008 Cover_Cap_Case_3.gif

1. Who did it: Washington State Department of Ecology and Washington Community, Trade, and Economic Development, under the direction of Governor Christine Gregoire, developed a Climate Action Plan for Washington State. The plan was developed under the direction of an appointed Climate Advisory Team in 2007 and a reconstituted and appointed Climate Action Team in 2008. The Climate Advisory Team was served by Technical Work Groups (TWG) including a combined Agriculture and Waste TWG. The Climate Action Team moved the original recommendations in the interim plan to actionable items in a final plan with legislative proposals. This work was done with the assistance of 4 Implementation Work Groups (IWG), including a Beyond Waste IWG. The recommendations of CAT were included in a final broader plan titled "Growing Washington's Economy in a Carbon-Constrained World - A Comprehensive Plan to Address the Challenges and Opportunities of Climate Change"

2. What they did (and when): During 2007, the Climate Advisory Team’s Agriculture/Waste TWG developed policy option recommendations including AW-3 “Significant Expansion of Source Reduction, Ruse, Recycling and Composting.” http://www.ecy.wa.gov/climatechange/interimreport/122107_TWG_agr.pdf

A partial list of mitigation strategies included: source reduction (waste prevention) initiatives; expanding existing and encouraging more reuse, recycling, composting and processing businesses; establishing product stewardship programs; using environmentally preferable procurement practices; encouraging cradle-to-cradle design and manufacturing; facilitating safe byproduct “synergy” strategies; achieving a reduction of toxics in packaging and products to make them safer to manufacture, use and recycle while increasing their value and use in the market place; increasing closed-loop recycling and the percentage of recycled-content in products, and expansion of disposal bans. The policy option included a goal to reduce the total amount of household and business waste by 15% and recycle at least 50% of the waste remaining, and capture 90% of the disposed organics for composting or digestion. AW-3 as a package had very significant GHG reductions (29.21 MMtCO2e 2008-2020) and very high cost effectiveness.

Another TWG addressed Residential, Commercial and Industrial sectors and produced policy option RCI-10 “More Stringent Appliance/Equipment/Lighting Efficiency Standards, and Appliance and Lighting Product Recycling and Design.” http://www.ecy.wa.gov/climatechange/interimreport/122107_TWG_rci.pdf
Strategies included reducing the toxicity of energy efficient lighting, establishing recycling for energy efficient lighting and appliances, and promoting use of green electronics certified to Energy Star and EPEAT. RCI-10 also showed very significant GHG reductions (26.6 MMtCO2e 2008-2020) and very high cost effectiveness.

The work of the Climate Advisory Team was published in an interim report titled “Leading the Way: A Comprehensive Approach to Reducing Greenhouse Gases in Washington State” dated February 2008. http://www.ecy.wa.gov/pubs/0801008b.pdf The report summarized the detailed recommendations though 12 “powerful directional recommendations” including Recommendation 11: “Reduce waste and Washington’s emissions of GHGs through improved product choices and resource stewardship.”

The Advisory Team was reformulated and reappointed as the Climate Action Team (CAT) to undertake another year of work and to refine the most promising proposals into action recommendations, including developing legislation drafts. Four Implementation Work Groups were formed, including a Beyond Waste IWG. This was in recognition of the high cost effectiveness shown in the “waste –related” recommendations and of the Advisory Team and the base provided by the State’s progressive solid waste management plan, titled “Beyond Waste.” http://www.ecy.wa.gov/beyondwaste/

The Beyond Waste IWG developed five key recommendations which where adopted as recommendations of the CAT. The recommendations begin with setting a new state recycling goal of 80 percent. Building on the parts of the current waste management system that are working well (such as curbside recycling), they target products and organic materials with the largest potential to reduce GHG emissions. Using these strategies, Washington could reduce GHG emissions by 6 MMTCO2e per year by 2020.

The five key recommendations included:

• Enhance the Collection of Recyclable Material (legislative text developed)
• Market Development for Diverted Organics (legislative text developed)
• Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Programs in Government
• Team with Retailers to Reduce Consumer Waste
• Product Stewardship Framework (legislative text developed)

Details, including descriptions and legislative text can be found in the final plan document, titled "Growing Washington's Economy in a Carbon-Constrained World - A Comprehensive Plan to Address the Challenges and Opportunities of Climate Change" dated and in the Beyond Waste IWG’s recommendations, attached as Appendix 5, titled “The Next 50%”. http://www.ecy.wa.gov/climatechange/2008CATdocs/IWG/bw/110308_beyond_waste_iwg_report.pdf


3. Why they did it: It presents a coordinated set of policies - including incentives, regulation, and disincentives - to meet GHG emissions reductions adopted into law in 2008. These include: - Return to 1990 GHG emission levels by 2020- Reduce emissions 25% below 1990 levels by 2035- Reduce emissions 50% below 1990 levels by 2050

4. Results/outcomes/successes/failures/lessons learned:
Throughout the CAT process, challenges arose due to the inadequate analysis provided by the current inventory methodology, which showed relatively small emissions attributed to "waste" (disposal emissions only). Despite input requesting that clarification be provided within the inventory report regarding the limits to the sector approach, such text was not included.

As a result, “Waste” was combined with “Agriculture” as an initial Technical Work Group, which was not a good fit. Appointments to the work group were predominately from agriculture and they did not have the expertise or desire to address “waste” issues. With some efforts, this problem was overcome.

Next there was confusion at the CAT level over why “waste” related activities were showing such significant potential GHG reductions when the “waste” related emissions were such a low percent of the total. As well, there was concern by advocates addressing building energy consumption and transportation related impacts that the “waste” related proposals would distract from their proposals, which would address emissions represented in the State’s inventory.

Ultimately, these concerns were overcome, but with significant effort. The result was the very significant role given these issues represented by establishing the Beyond Waste IWG as one of 4 key IWGs to develop proposals.

It was necessary to provide clarity on what Beyond Waste emission reductions would result within the state and outside the state, as a result of implementation of proposals. The Beyond Waste proposal text included this statement:

“Using these strategies, Washington could reduce GHG emissions by 6 MMTCO2e per year by 2020. Because many materials and products consumed in Washington are produced around the world, not all of these reductions will occur within the state. As a result, we cannot include the full potential of these reductions in meeting Washington’s GHG emissions reductions. Given the global nature of climate change, however, the BW IWG believes that any actions Washington takes to reduce worldwide emissions are worthy activities.”

Many elements of the CAT’s Beyond Waste recommendations were next incorporated into the State’s revised and updated Beyond Waste Plan. As local governments (that are designated as planning authorities for solid waste under state law) update their required local plans, they are strongly encouraged, such as through grants, to include Beyond Waste Plan elements.

Many of the CAT’s recommendations have been moved forward, refined and revised, as legislative proposals. Some have passed and become law, others have not. The Beyond Waste proposal regarding enhancing collection of recyclable material essential required mandatory collection and source separation into three material streams: recyclables, organics, residual for disposal.

Work on a product stewardship framework approach has been delayed to continue to work on product specific legislation, to gain more experience with product stewardship approaches before attempting full framework. A product stewardship law for mercury lighting, called for in the CAT proposals, was passed in 2009.

Many elements of proposals have also been acted upon voluntarily by various parties. For instance, as a result of the recommendations, Puget Sound Energy developed a CFL take-back program to assist in providing collection infrastructure, prior to a state-wide product stewardship system being established.