Statement: Gov. Northam announces executive order to phase out single use plastics

Media Contacts
Alex Truelove

Once again, the Commonwealth takes a lead when it comes to addressing the plastic pollution crisis


RICHMOND, Va — Gov. Ralph Northam announced Tuesday Executive Order 77, eliminating disposable plastic bags and single-use foodware at all state agencies within 120 days, and phasing out  a wider range of single-use plastics in the state agencies and public universities by 2025. It also directs the state government to develop solid waste reduction and landfill diversion recommendations. 

The order builds on Virginia’s  plastic reduction leadership after  Northam approved a ban on polystyrene foam cups and take-out containers last week. Localities are now able to establish a plastic bag fee. During the 2021 General Assembly, lawmakers also passed a ban on intentional balloon releases. 

Alex Truelove, U.S. PIRG Zero Waste Program director, issued the following statement:

“Gov. Northam’s executive order is one of the strongest in the country when it comes to eliminating unnecessary plastic waste.This order pushes for common sense solutions to confront the plastic pollution crisis. Whether single-use plastic ends up in a landfill, an incinerator or in our environment, the waste it creates for just a few minutes of convenience will have long-term consequences for our communities and the environment lasting far into the future. By eliminating the worst forms of single-use plastic and taking the first step toward a future with less waste, Governor Northam truly is setting a strong example for other states to follow.”

Kelsey Lamp, Environment America Protect Our Oceans campaign director, issued the following statement: 

“Governor Northam’s executive order recognizes the harm single-use plastic waste does to our wildlife and waterways. Coming on the heels of legislative victories, this bold action in Virginia is setting a standard for states across the country looking to put the planet over plastic and leave a cleaner, healthier ocean to future generations.”