CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Governor Ralph Northam recently signed an executive order aimed at keeping plastics out of landfills across Virginia. Executive Order 77 requires higher education institutions like the University of Virginia, to eliminate single-use plastics, like plastic bottles or bags.
E.O. 77 directs universities, colleges and state agencies, to stop buying, selling or distributing single-use plastics that are not for medical, public health, or safety use. That means tens of thousands of plastics like disposable cups or straws, things that can’t be recycled, will be saved from landfills.
“Most of us have grown up with the mantra of reduce, reuse, recycle, and at the very start of that is to reduce, so we can’t really reuse all plastic, and most statistics we’ve seen, we don’t reuse or recycling it. Most of it ends up being incinerated or going to a landfill,” said Pat Calvert with the Virginia Conservation Network.
Andrea Trimble with UVA’s Sustainability office said the university is already working to keep grounds more green.
“UVA Dine, they have several plastic reduction efforts that they’ve been undertaking with straws and with bags and with single use utensils, and we’ve been continuing our recycling and composting options,” Trimble said. “It really will add up and make a big difference in our environmental footprint.”
Calvert said the legislation is just a starting point.
“We are certainly one of the first leaders and the states in the south to take such a strong stance on plastics,” he said.
State agencies and universities will have about six months to develop a plan to completely eliminate non-essential single-use plastics by 2025.