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Seattle Passes First-Ever Legislation to Combat Greenwashing

posted Oct 7, 2016, 9:32 AM by Julie Moore   [ updated Apr 6, 2021, 7:29 AM by Association of Recycling Managers ]

As we all work to prevent food waste and compost what isn’t prevented, it will be increasingly important to eliminate confusing and look-alike packaging that is not compostable, but appears to be.

Earlier this week, Seattle City Council passed first-in-the-nation legislation to address the growing problem of non-compostable bags being mistaken for compostable bags. The legislation passed unanimously and does the following:

  • Non-compostable plastic bags provided to customers must not be tinted green or brown, such as non-compostable produce bags
  • Compostable bags provided to customers must be tinted green or brown and must be labeled compostable
  • Bags provided to customers cannot be labeled biodegradable, degradable, decomposable    or similar terms
  • Establishes definition for compostable
  • Makes a mandatory minimum charge of $.05 for large paper carryout bags permanent

The legislation and the presentation to Council can be viewed at ordinance. Click the Text tab for the legislation. Supporting documents include a summary and fiscal note, the presentation and an adopted amendment regarding reporting.


Press release is attached.

Julie Moore,
Oct 7, 2016, 9:32 AM