An executive order from Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam will phase out all single-use plastics at state agencies, colleges and universities.Virginia to Phase Out Single-Use Plastics in State Government
The order bans state use of disposable plastic bags, single-use plastic and polystyrene (commonly known as Styrofoam) 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.
“We are grateful to the governor for his leadership in the effort to rid our waterways of this bane by phasing out single-use plastics in government agencies and requiring a searching review of how to reduce the vast quantities of waste that currently goes to landfills. This executive order ensures that Virginia will be a leader in this effort.”
Frankly, I don't think it will do that much good. The state is only a small fraction of the trash stream, and one over which the state ought to be able to exert control over.