Statement: Gov. Northam announces executive order to phase out single use plastics in state government

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EO is one of strongest in country aimed at eliminating single use plastics

Environment Virginia

RICHMOND, Va — Gov. Ralph Northam announced this morning Executive Order 77 which will eliminate the use of disposable plastic bags and single-use foodware at all state agencies within 120 days, and phase out the use of other single-use plastics in the state agencies and public universities by 2025. It also directs the Secretary to develop recommendations for reducing solid waste and diverting waste from landfills through composting, reuse, and other strategies. 

Last week, Northam approved Del. Betsy Carr’s bill (HB1902) to ban polystyrene foam cups and take-out containers in Virginia. Localities are now able to establish a fee for plastic bags and during the 2021 General Assembly lawmakers also passed a ban on intentional balloon releases; his EO builds on this progress. 

Elly Boehmer, state director of Environment Virginia, issued the following statement: 

Gov. Northam’s Executive Order 77 is one of the strongest executive orders in the country when it comes to eliminating unnecessary plastic waste in state government. 

We must reduce the harm caused by single-use plastic waste and this is a big step in that direction. Virginia’s waterways and wildlife are among the Commonwealth’s best assets and by taking action on this dangerous single-use plastic, Gov. Northam has chosen to put the planet over plastic.

This order acknowledges a simple fact: There is no “away” for our single-use plastic. Whether it ends up in a landfill, an incinerator or in our environment, the plastic we use for just a few minutes will have long-term consequences for our wildlife and our communities. By eliminating the worst forms of single-use plastic in state agencies and taking the first step toward a future with less waste, Governor Northam truly is acting in the best interest of future generations.