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Want to bring your own container for bulk goods, take-out and drinks in WA state? Send an e-mail comment to before July 31st to the Dept. of Health to help them make the right choice in their food code revision. Here’s my sample letter – feel free to copy or write your own! Thanks to Zero Waste Washington for keeping me updated on this topic!

Many shops already have bulk dispensers. The food code needs to catch up!

Dear Ms. Shelton,

I am writing to support the changes in the WA food code, WAC 246-215-03348 Refilling Returnables, that allows consumers to bring their own containers for buying and refilling food and beverages. I have often tried to bring my own containers to stores, and when I do succeed in buying food without buying new trash, I feel I have done my part in building a more sustainable world.

At this point in our history, shifting our lifestyle to a low-carbon, low-energy, low-toxin mode of commerce is infinitely more important than preventing the mild discomfort that may come to one in a million customers who experience food-borne illness as a result of reusable containers. In fact, there are those who advocate for more interaction with micro-organisms as a line of defense against asthma, allergies and auto-immune disorders.

When living in Europe, I regularly bought bread that was stored in wooden crates without any kind of packaging. I packed my produce into personal bags and baskets like everyone else, and even bought milk using my own bottle that was refilled at the shop from a dispenser. I brought my own jar for bulk pickled goods from the pickle vendor at the open-air market. I even brought my own containers for taking home cooked meals from cafeterias where food sits at room temperature most of the afternoon (though I wouldn’t have minded if they had used steam trays there). I would very much like to be able to continue this lifestyle legally in WA state, and so would many, many other immigrants and locals alike. I am part of the Zero Waste movement, Plastic Free July, Minimalism, and other popular initiatives that young people are adopting in response to the wasteful, unhealthy, consumerist model we are forced to participate in today.

In addition to helping individuals and the environment, this food code would benefit businesses and municipalities: 
• Businesses will save money by purchasing fewer single-use to-go foodware items. 
• Consumers will have less waste at home
• Municipalities will save money in disposal costs. 
• The environment will have less waste blowing into our waterways. 

Please consider going further and allowing consumers to bring their own container for any and all beverages. Thank you for listening to consumers and helping to reduce waste and micro-plastics. 

from Washington State (ZIP code 98…)

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