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Virginia campuses take steps to reduce waste

Published: Aug. 20, 2021 at 4:57 PM EDT
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STAUNTON, Va. (WHSV) - Virginia colleges and universities are taking steps to be more sustainable.

Governor Ralph Northam’s executive order 77 said campuses must remove single-use plastics, so universities in the Valley are moving to reduce waste.

RefillRenew has sustainable options that college students will be seeing more of. (WHSV)
RefillRenew has sustainable options that college students will be seeing more of. (WHSV)(WHSV)

James Madison University posted on social media to remind students that they will see fewer single-use plastics; like straws, bottles and bags, on campus this year. They will give out and sell reusable straws and bottles to replace those items.

RefillRenew owner Mandy Drumheller says the order is a step in the right direction, but she said she worries about the lack of substitutions.

“Governor Northam’s executive order is a great first step, as long as there are compostable single-use items to be had. Sourcing them is tough, I know from trying to stock the store,” Drumheller said.

Drumheller says she started RefillRenew when Staunton’s plastic recycling program went away. She says she wanted to provide the community with an alternative to single-use items.

She says she’s excited to see any steps toward sustainability.

“I hope the executive order means that more people will come up with better solutions. I hope that composting becomes a great option for universities,” she said.

She says developments need to be made in the world of to-go food.

“It’s hard to find compostable to-go items and then even harder to find places to compost those items when you’re done with them,” said Drumheller.

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