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Chapter 173-905 WAC - Battery Stewardship Program

Ecology, Department of
Title of action
Chapter 173-905 WAC - Battery Stewardship Program
Date significant agency action was initiated
Tuesday, March 19, 2024
Significant legislative rules
Brief description of significant agency actions for which the agency is initiating an environmental justice assessment.
The purpose of this rulemaking effort is to implement new program requirements established under chapter 70A.555 RCW Batteries—Environmental Stewardship, which was passed by the state legislature in April 2023. The new law creates an extended producer responsibility program for recycling most types of batteries. Beginning January 1, 2027, battery producers are required to pay into a program that establishes a statewide network of battery collection sites that will provide opportunities for people to drop off batteries at no cost. These collection sites are to be accessible and convenient to overburdened communities identified by the department. This program will increase opportunities for battery recycling throughout the state and will improve consistency of existing battery recycling programs in Washington. Ecology intends to provide battery stewardship organizations regulatory clarity so that the program is implemented equitably across Washington.
Methods for providing public comment for agency consideration as part of the environmental justice assessment.
Ecology will develop and follow a formal communication plan focused on connecting with overburdened communities and vulnerable populations in Washington. The department recognizes that all residents of Washington State, regardless of socio-economic factors, should have a say in the rules and regulations that affect them. Ecology will allow for all communities and individuals to provide valuable insights, feedback, and ideas regarding implementation of the law but will focus engagement efforts particularly on identified overburdened communities. Once Ecology has identified an overburdened community or vulnerable population, staff will connect with existing community groups wherever possible to utilize connections already established within that community. Staff also plan to use varied communications channels including virtual meetings, public hearings, and other targeted education and outreach to inform communities about the issues and impacts of the Battery Stewardship Program. Ecology will accept public comments during a formal comment period and multiple public hearings, the details of which will be shared on the rulemaking website and distributed to the email list for the rule in mid-2025.