Using Food Well - Washington HB2301 enhances HB1799

by Lauren Guthrie

In 2022, Washington House Bill 1799 set a goal of diverting 75% of organic waste by 2030 (with a baseline of 2015 data) and diverting at least 20% of edible food by 2025 (with a baseline of 2015 data). It required businesses that generate a certain amount of organic waste to begin organic material recovery, and cities or counties with a population of more than 25,000 residents to adopt a compost procurement ordinance.

Photo credit: Washington State Department of Ecology

This year’s HB2301 builds on HB1799 by enhancing organic material collection service requirements for local governments, residents and businesses as well as allocating significant funding to food waste reduction initiatives.

HB2301 maintains 1799’s ordinance based on population and amends those requirements to mandate source-separated organic solid waste collection services to be provided year round, beginning in 2027.

It also changes the thresholds for organics diversion at businesses as follows:

Starting date

Requirement in HB1799

Requirement in HB2301

January 1, 2024

Businesses with ≥ 8 cubic yards/week organic material waste must divert


January 1, 2025

Businesses with ≥ 4 cubic yards/week organic material waste must divert


January 1, 2026

Businesses with ≥ 4 cubic yards/week solid waste must divert organic waste

Businesses with ≥ 96 gallons of organic material waste per week must divert*

*Unless the department determines that additional reductions in the landfilling of organic materials would be more appropriately and effectively achieved, at reasonable cost to regulated businesses, through the establishment of a different volumetric threshold of organic waste material than the threshold of 96 gallons of organic material waste per week.

HB1799 defined the capacity of food waste reduction in reducing methane emissions and the responsibility of the state in implementing effective policy and incentives for more sustainable actions. HB2301 dives deeper into the preferred means of reducing organic waste in the following list, from most to least preferred, and as outlined below in the EPA Food Recovery Hierarchy:

  1. prevents food waste
  2. donates or upcycles food
  3. feeds animals or leaves food unharvested
  4. composts or anaerobically digests materials with beneficial use of the compost, digestate, or biosolids
  5. anaerobically digests materials with the disposal of digestate or biosolids, or applies material to the land
  6. sends materials down the drain, to landfills, or incinerates material, with or without accompanying energy recovery.

Therefore, the strongest leverage point that this bill seeks to engage is preventing food waste throughout the supply chain.

HB1799 outlined a plan for establishing the Washington Center for Sustainable Food Management, which launched in January 2024, and HB2301 offers further specifics regarding its functions. The center will convene a work group “to address mechanisms to improve the rescue of edible food waste from commercial generators, including food service, retail establishments, and processors that generate excess supply of edible food”, and administer grants to support innovative pilots and infrastructure to maximize food donations. These grants include the Sustainable Food Management Policy Implementation Grants, Washington Commodities Donation Grant Program, and Waste Not Washington Awards (whose $5,000 limit is increased to $10,000 per award in the new HB). Another funding expansion named in HB2301 is the Department of Agriculture’s compost reimbursement program which would pay large farm operators $20,000 instead of $10,000 to purchase and spread compost on their land.

Additionally, HB2301 modifies requirements for products to be labeled as compostable in Washington; bans plastic produce stickers (starting in January 2028); prohibits organic materials treated with certain pesticides from being sent to an organic material management facility for handling; establishes food safety and quality labeling requirements (starting in 2026), and implements compost facility operator training.

Overall, this bill brings much needed definition and funding to HB1799. Such “fixer” bills are common and the Resource Synergy team is excited to see the evolution of our state’s efforts to “Use Food Well”.



On March 28, 2024, Governor Jay Inslee signed HB2301.