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Washington State Bill Restricts Marketing of Degradable Food & Other Packaging

  • The Washington State legislature has passed a bill that restricts the marketing of degradability products, including food packaging and food service ware. The bill, HB 1569, was passed by the senate on April 15 and signed by the Speaker of the House on April 18.

  • HB 1569 specifies that products labeled as compostable must either be comprised only of wood or fiber-based substrate OR must meet the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) composting standard D6400 or D6868. They must also meet Federal Trade Commission (FTC) green guide labeling requirements and be labeled with a logo indicating a third party has certified that the product complies with ASTM specifications. The bill also prohibits labeling of most plastic products with the terms “biodegradable,” “degradable,” “decomposable,” or “oxo-degradable.”

  • Food service products—along with certain film products—that meet ASTM composting standards must be “readily and easily identifiable.” This includes the use of a logo indicating the product has met ASTM standards and the inclusion of the word “compostable” where possible. On the other hand, food service products and film products—including film bags—that do not meet ASTM standards are prohibited from using tinting, labeling, and terms required of products that meet ASTM standards. The bill specifies that manufacturers or suppliers are not required to comply with any of the product labeling requirements that conflict with the FTC green guides.

  • HB 1596 gives the state attorney general, cities, and counties concurrent authority to enforce the labeling and marketing requirements. If the bill is signed by the governor, it will become effective on July 1, 2020.

© 2020 Keller and Heckman LLPNational Law Review, Volume IX, Number 113


About this Author

Keller and Heckman offers global food and drug services to its clients. Our comprehensive and extensive food and drug practice is one of the largest in the world. We promote, protect, and defend products made by the spectrum of industries regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the European Commission and Member States authorities in the European Union (EU) and similar authorities throughout the world. The products we help get to market include foods, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, veterinary products, dietary supplements, and cosmetics. In addition...