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Beginning of Chapter  <<  70.95.010 >>   70.95.020

RCW 70.95.010

Legislative finding — Priorities — Goals.

The legislature finds:

     (1) Continuing technological changes in methods of manufacture, packaging, and marketing of consumer products, together with the economic and population growth of this state, the rising affluence of its citizens, and its expanding industrial activity have created new and ever-mounting problems involving disposal of garbage, refuse, and solid waste materials resulting from domestic, agricultural, and industrial activities.

     (2) Traditional methods of disposing of solid wastes in this state are no longer adequate to meet the ever-increasing problem. Improper methods and practices of handling and disposal of solid wastes pollute our land, air and water resources, blight our countryside, adversely affect land values, and damage the overall quality of our environment.

     (3) Considerations of natural resource limitations, energy shortages, economics and the environment make necessary the development and implementation of solid waste recovery and/or recycling plans and programs.

     (4) Waste reduction must become a fundamental strategy of solid waste management. It is therefore necessary to change manufacturing and purchasing practices and waste generation behaviors to reduce the amount of waste that becomes a governmental responsibility.

     (5) Source separation of waste must become a fundamental strategy of solid waste management. Collection and handling strategies should have, as an ultimate goal, the source separation of all materials with resource value or environmental hazard.

     (6)(a) It should be the goal of every person and business to minimize their production of wastes and to separate recyclable or hazardous materials from mixed waste.

     (b) It is the responsibility of state, county, and city governments to provide for a waste management infrastructure to fully implement waste reduction and source separation strategies and to process and dispose of remaining wastes in a manner that is environmentally safe and economically sound. It is further the responsibility of state, county, and city governments to monitor the cost-effectiveness and environmental safety of combusting separated waste, processing mixed municipal solid waste, and recycling programs.

     (c) It is the responsibility of county and city governments to assume primary responsibility for solid waste management and to develop and implement aggressive and effective waste reduction and source separation strategies.

     (d) It is the responsibility of state government to ensure that local governments are providing adequate source reduction and separation opportunities and incentives to all, including persons in both rural and urban areas, and nonresidential waste generators such as commercial, industrial, and institutional entities, recognizing the need to provide flexibility to accommodate differing population densities, distances to and availability of recycling markets, and collection and disposal costs in each community; and to provide county and city governments with adequate technical resources to accomplish this responsibility.

     (7) Environmental and economic considerations in solving the state's solid waste management problems requires strong consideration by local governments of regional solutions and intergovernmental cooperation.

     (8) The following priorities for the collection, handling, and management of solid waste are necessary and should be followed in descending order as applicable:

     (a) Waste reduction;

     (b) Recycling, with source separation of recyclable materials as the preferred method;

     (c) Energy recovery, incineration, or landfill of separated waste;

     (d) Energy recovery, incineration, or landfill of mixed municipal solid wastes.

     (9) It is the state's goal to achieve a fifty percent recycling rate by 2007.

     (10) It is the state's goal that programs be established to eliminate residential or commercial yard debris in landfills by 2012 in those areas where alternatives to disposal are readily available and effective.

     (11) Steps should be taken to make recycling at least as affordable and convenient to the ratepayer as mixed waste disposal.

     (12) It is necessary to compile and maintain adequate data on the types and quantities of solid waste that are being generated and to monitor how the various types of solid waste are being managed.

     (13) Vehicle batteries should be recycled and the disposal of vehicle batteries into landfills or incinerators should be discontinued.

     (14) Excessive and nonrecyclable packaging of products should be avoided.

     (15) Comprehensive education should be conducted throughout the state so that people are informed of the need to reduce, source separate, and recycle solid waste.

     (16) All governmental entities in the state should set an example by implementing aggressive waste reduction and recycling programs at their workplaces and by purchasing products that are made from recycled materials and are recyclable.

     (17) To ensure the safe and efficient operations of solid waste disposal facilities, it is necessary for operators and regulators of landfills and incinerators to receive training and certification.

     (18) It is necessary to provide adequate funding to all levels of government so that successful waste reduction and recycling programs can be implemented.

     (19) The development of stable and expanding markets for recyclable materials is critical to the long-term success of the state's recycling goals. Market development must be encouraged on a state, regional, and national basis to maximize its effectiveness. The state shall assume primary responsibility for the development of a multifaceted market development program to carry out the purposes of this act.

     (20) There is an imperative need to anticipate, plan for, and accomplish effective storage, control, recovery, and recycling of discarded tires and other problem wastes with the subsequent conservation of resources and energy.

[2002 c 299 § 3; 1989 c 431 § 1; 1985 c 345 § 1; 1984 c 123 § 1; 1975-'76 2nd ex.s. c 41 § 1; 1969 ex.s. c 134 § 1.]