Executive Order 77 - Reduce Plastic Waste Pollution


Executive Order 77 - Announcement

Virginia Leading by Example to Reduce Plastic Waste Pollution and Solid Waste


As a result of EO77, departments will need to immediately discontinue the purchase of disposable plastic bags, plastic cutlery, single use water bottles, and single use plastic or polystyrene food containers.

Why are we doing this?

Governor Northam issued Executive Order 77 on March 23, 2021. The Executive Order (EO) requires all state agencies, including higher education institutions, act to reduce the quantity of single use plastics that become waste. The EO directs agencies to immediately discontinue buying, selling, or distributing specific items: disposable plastic bags, single-use plastic and polystyrene food service containers, plastic straws and cutlery, and single-use plastic water bottles.

The university is currently reviewing our usage of these items and areas with extremely high impact are developing plans to reduce or eliminate usage of these items. You’ll most likely see or hear about some changes, related to this, in the future.

What about disposable plastic bags my department already has?

From a Procurement perspective all departments on campus should immediately cease to purchase disposable plastic bags (other than those specifically related to medical use). For example, you should no longer purchase plastic bags to hand out at events or trade shows. Plastic bags that you already have in stock may continue to be used to deplete your stock until December 31, 2022. The current recommendations for alternatives are 1) to consider not providing a bag at all 2) utilize long term use bags (cloth, recycled materials, etc.) or 3) paper bags (free of any additive coatings). Procurement Services is reaching out to our contracted printing and promotional vendors requesting them to discontinue marketing any plastic bags to campus.

Other Single Use Plastic Items

While we don’t believe the additional items (plastic cutlery, single use water bottles, or single use plastic or polystyrene containers) are heavily purchased by most departments on campus, if your department has purchased these items in the past, you should discontinue purchasing new quantities. Alternatives include reusable washable items, paper-based items, bamboo, and compostable.

The EO also calls for the university to decrease usage of additional single use plastic items such as plastic packaging materials and single use plastic promotional items over the next four years. Departments on campus are encouraged to consider how they may contribute to the effort by making choices that help to eliminate waste overall, and specifically single use plastic waste. To learn about how to make your office more environmentally friendly and ideas on how to handle making more sustainable purchasing decisions, visit the Greening Your Office Online Training. We encourage everyone to review this training.

We will be back in touch on this EO as the need arises.

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Published: Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Last Updated: Wednesday, February 8, 2023

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