Home Publisher's Point of View Washington State’s Plastics Reduction Bill Targets Single-Use Plastic Drinking, Amenity Bottles

Washington State’s Plastics Reduction Bill Targets Single-Use Plastic Drinking, Amenity Bottles

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Glenn Hasek

It was just two days before Earth Day that Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed his state’s Plastics Reduction Bill. It requires water bottle filling stations in new buildings and eliminates single-use plastics for personal care products in hotels.

“In any construction subject to the requirements of this chapter in which a drinking fountain is required under the international building code as amended and adopted by the building code council, the rules adopted by the building code council must also require the provision of a bottle filling station, or a combined bottle filling station and drinking fountain for each drinking fountain that is required,” the bill states. “The rules required under this section must take effect and be implemented by July 1, 2026, and may be periodically updated thereafter.”

Hotel owners are increasingly turning to plastic bottle alternatives including paper cartons, steel water bottles and hydration stations throughout the property. The Ritz-Carlton Bacara in Santa Barbara, Calif. is just one of many examples of hotels that have installed water refill stations (see article). At HD Expo this past week, Elkay Manufacturing Co. highlighted a sleeker version of its bottle filling station.

Plenty of Time to Comply

Section 4 of the bill states: “A lodging establishment may not provide a personal health or beauty product in a small plastic personal health or beauty product container, a plastic wrapper, or any other single-use plastic packaging to a person staying in a lodging unit or within bathrooms shared by the public or guests. A lodging establishment may make products restricted under this subsection available to a person upon request. The requirements…apply beginning January 1, 2027, for lodging establishments with 50 or more lodging units, and beginning January 1, 2028, for lodging establishments with less than 50 lodging units.”

Hoteliers may be fined up to $500 for each day it provides personal health or beauty products in violation but no more than $2,000 annually.

Non-single-use amenity dispensers have been around for years and have made sense for years; it is too bad Washington legislators thought government action and the threat of fines was needed to force hoteliers to change.

Washington Joins Other States

The Washington law—similar to legislation passed in California and New York in recent years—builds on sustainability practices already in place at chains such as Marriott International, which in 2019 committed to eliminating single-use shower toiletry bottles from its hotels.

Washington has a history of legislating the removal of plastic from day-to-day business. The state’s Plastic Bag Ban reduces pollution by prohibiting single-use plastic carryout bags and charges a fee for acceptable bags in businesses. That ban began in October 2021.

Getting single-use plastic bottles out of the waste stream is a no brainer with what we know about plastic’s ability to persist in our environment for generations. For the sake of our health and the planet, don’t wait for some government mandate to get rid of single-use plastic.

Glenn Hasek can be reached at greenlodgingnews@gmail.com.

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