Every day, people throw away tons of plastic “stuff” — cups, plates, bags, containers, forks, knives, straws, spoons and more. All of this waste not only clogs our landfills, trashes our parks, and litters our streets, but it also washes into our rivers and oceans, where it can harm wildlife. It’s time to move beyond single-use plastic, by getting rid of the most harmful waste, and stopping the use of things we truly don’t need.
- Hold producers responsible for the waste they create. Passing an extended producer program in Washington will aim to incentivize producers to reduce their use of packaging and build products that are less hazardous, built to last, and are easy to recycle or reuse by requiring that producers are responsible for waste costs associated with their products, including waste collection, transportation and management.
- WashPIRG supports policies that eliminate unnecessary single-use plastics.
Right to Repair
When our stuff breaks, it means more cost to consumers, and also means more waste. Americans dispose of 416,000 cell phones per day, and only 15 to 20 percent of electronic waste is recycled. The goal of our Right to Repair campaign is to give every consumer and small business access to the parts, tools and service information they need to repair products so we can keep things in use and reduce waste.
- Washington should adopt “right to repair” reforms, which would allow consumers and small businesses to fix their devices in order to reduce waste and save money.
Fair Prescription Drug Prices
Americans pay two to three times as much as people in other countries for the same medicines. It’s time to stop the patent abuse and other schemes drug makers use to jack up costs and prevent lower-cost alternatives from entering the market. Establishing drug affordability boards can work to bring drug prices down by setting annual drug spending targets or establishing upper payment limits.
- Washington should establish a prescription drug affordability board to protect patients.
Safe and Healthy Homes
Burning fossil fuels in our homes and businesses is responsible for at least 9 percent of all US emissions and can pollute the air we breathe inside and outside of our buildings. Despite the threat this poses to our planet and our health, three out of every four American homes still directly burn fossil fuels for heating, hot water, or to run appliances. WashPIRG supports:
- Warning labels to inform consumers of the health and safety risks of gas appliances
- Ending subsidies for new gas hook-ups and instead investing in incentives for electrification to help the public move away from dangerous fossil fuels in our homes.
Get the Lead Out
Lead is a potent neurotoxin and it affects how our children learn, grow and behave. Our children’s drinking water is at risk wherever we have faucets, fountains, or plumbing made with lead. While Washington state made strides in 2021 to better protect public school students and faculty members, there is more to be done to protect all Washingtonians from the dangers of lead.
- WashPIRG supports utilizing state and federal funding to proactively replace lead-bearing fountains with filtered water stations and install filters on all other taps used for cooking or drinking at schools.
Transportation is the largest source of carbon emissions in Washington, and our reliance on fossil fuels in this sector puts our health, safety and environment at risk. Getting to school or commuting to work shouldn’t include a daily dose of toxic pollution, or increase the chances that people get sick. New federal funding should make it even easier for Washington to install EV charging stations, electrify buses, and invest in walking, biking and transit infrastructure. WashPIRG supports:
- Electrifying cars. We’re calling for all new cars and trucks sold in the state to be electric by 2030. We support legislation to facilitate the shift to a cleaner, electric car future.
- Electrifying buses. We support a transition to 100% electric school and transit buses by 2030.
- Driving less, living more. We need to reduce the need to drive by making it easier, cheaper and more enjoyable to travel on foot, bike or public transit, and invest in multi-modal transportation.
Washingtonians deserve fair rules of the road and an even playing field in the marketplace, and consumers should be protected from scams, dangerous products, and the unbridled power of unscrupulous corporate interests.
WashPIRG’s mission is to deliver persistent, results-oriented public interest activism that protects consumers, encourages a fair, sustainable economy, protects public health and fosters responsive, democratic government.
For more information about WashPIRG’s 2022 Program Agenda, to request our support for a bill, or to ask questions about our position on a specific issue, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We look forward to working with you.
Cover image by Jim Bowen via flickr
Nicole directs WashPIRG’s consumer and public health campaigns at the statewide level. Nicole also works with WashPIRG Student chapters at the University of Washington and the Evergreen State College to train student activists on environmental and youth voter engagement campaigns. She was previously the board chair for CALPIRG Students as a student at UC Berkeley and a campus organizer with CALPIRG Students and with WashPIRG Students. Nicole has led campaigns to help pass statewide commitments to 100 percent clean electricity and single-use plastic bag bans in both California and Washington state, and has helped run campaigns to register thousands of voters. Nicole lives in Seattle, where she enjoys hiking and exploring the Pacific Northwest.