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Friday Harbor Youth Support Recycling Reform in Olympia

The Friday Harbor Eco Club spent Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Olympia, advocating for legislation that would reform recycling and reduce packaging waste in WA State. The students met with representatives from the 40th District, including Representative Alex Ramel, Representative Debra Lekanoff, and Senator Liz Lovelett.  

Katie, Jess, and students with Rep. Debra Lekanoff in front of the Capitol. Photo courtesy of FRIENDS

The club also represented constituents for the 40th District for the Re-Wrap Lobby Day with the Plastic Free Washington Coalition.

One student said, “I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to go to Olympia this year. My favorite part of the trip was being able to participate in the Re-Wrap Act march at the Capitol. Just being able to make a visual impact on the Capitol during the march made me feel like I was a part of something bigger.”  

Students marching with the Re-Wrap Coalition. Photo by Ricky Osborne 

The students were accompanied by Eco Club advisors, Jess Newley, Education and Community Science Director with Friends of the San Juans, and Katie Fleming, Solid Waste Coordinator with San Juan County.

The Re-Wrap Act is a producer responsibility bill that intends to help address the growing amount of unnecessary and non-recyclable packaging. The legislation will require producers—the companies that make packaging decisions—to be financially responsible for the end-of-life costs of these materials, rather than these costs falling on Washington residents.

Students voiced their concerns about plastic pollution found on San Juan County beaches and the need for easier recycling in our rural community.

“It was super inspiring to talk and meet with our representatives. I loved hearing their feedback about the Re-Wrap Act, and I thought it was really great that they listened to our stories and concerns about plastic,” said another Eco Club member.  

Newley of Friends of the San Juans shared, “I just love seeing these passionate youth stand up, use their voices, and make a difference in their community and for the environment. And the power of their voices has been immediately apparent! We have received multiple follow-up emails from our representatives that emphasized the impact of their visits”

Support for Friends of the San Juans' student mentorship program and this experience in Olympia was funded by the Madrona Institute’s License Plate Stewardship Fund.  


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