Specialty crop associations, including the Washington State Tree Fruit Association (WSTFA), have expressed concern that a proposed ban could result in a surge in plastic packaging use. They are urging members to oppose the measure. Hearings on the suggested Washington state legislation related to food waste were arranged for January 23.
The WSTFA stated in a press release that the proposed legislation includes a ban on plastic stickers on all fresh produce cultivated or sold in Washington by 2028. The intention is to decrease the volume of food waste ending up in landfills, where it decomposes and emits methane gas.
The release also noted that plastic stickers could hinder the diversion of produce waste to composting rather than landfills. The proposed bills also offer potentially advantageous incentives for agricultural producers to donate surplus edible product to food banks.
Label and sticker suppliers are striving to create feasible alternative products. However, these alternatives are either more costly, fail to meet the specific compostability standards in the bill, do not meet the performance standards demanded by retailers for durable and scannable labels, or both.