Northam order phases out Va. state use of plastics

An executive order from Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam will phase out all single-use plastics at state agencies, colleges and universities.

The order bans state use of disposable plastic bags, single-use plastic and polystyrene food service containers, plastic straws and cutlery and single-use plastic water bottles that aren’t for medical or public-safety use. The ban takes effect in 120 days.

And then all non-medical, single-use plastics and polystyrene objects are scheduled to be reduced by 25% by Dec. 21, 2022; 50% by Dec. 31, 2023; 75% by Dec. 31, 2024, and fully eliminated by Dec. 31, 2025.

“Plastics are the most pervasive type of marine debris in our ocean and along our coasts,” the order says. “In 2019 alone, volunteers collected more than 12,000 plastic bags and 13,000 plastic bottles, in addition to many other types of marine debris, from Virginia’s coastline.”

A statement from Northam’s office cites an Environmental Protection Agency study that found that less than 9% of plastics in the U.S. are recycled.

The order also directs the secretary of natural resources to come up with recommendations to reduce solid waste overall.

Rick Massimo

Rick Massimo came to WTOP, and to Washington, in 2013 after having lived in Providence, R.I., since he was a child. He's the author of "A Walking Tour of the Georgetown Set" and "I Got a Song: A History of the Newport Folk Festival."

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