January 24, 2024

Ban on non-compostable produce stickers considered in Washington

A ban on non-compostable stickers on fresh produce is being considered in Washington.

Specialty crop groups, including the Washington State Tree Fruit Association (WSTFA), say the ban could lead to an increase in the use of plastic packaging and are asking members to voice opposition to the measure.

Hearings on proposed Washington state legislation relating to food waste were scheduled for Jan. 23.

“Part Five of these bills includes a ban on plastic stickers on all fresh produce grown or sold in Washington by 2028. The sponsors’ goal is to reduce the amount of food waste going into landfills where it decays and produces methane gas,” according to the WSTFA in a news release.

“Plastic stickers are viewed as a potential impediment to the diversion of produce waste to composting instead of landfills,” according to the release. “The bills do also include some potentially beneficial incentives for agricultural producers to donate surplus edible product to food banks.”

Suppliers of labels and stickers are working to develop viable alternative products, but these are both more expensive and either do not meet the specific compostability standards in the bill, do not meet the performance standards required by retailers to ensure durable and scannable labels, or both, according to the release.

A USDA research scientist told Produce Processing about efforts to find a home-compostable and food-safe adhesive in August 2023.

The text of the Senate bill, SB 6180, is online.

The text of the House bill, HB 2301, is also online.

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