After Governor Ralph Northam signed an order last week phasing out single-use plastics at Virginia’s state agencies, colleges, and universities, officials at the University of Virginia (UVA) said the school has already started working on keeping the campus clean and plastic-free.
According to the legislation, colleges and universities will have six months to come up with a plan to eliminate single-use plastics by 2025.
“We just kind of have to take a step back now with this timeline in mind and see what we have to layout in terms of getting to where the Governor wants us to be,” the university’s Senior Vice President for operations and State Government Relations Colette Sheehy told CBS19.
In a major victory for our wildlife, @GovernorVA has approved HB1902 to ban single use foam!
This is the first ban on foam cups and takeout containers of 2021 and makes Virginia just the sixth state to ban foam!
— Environment Virginia (@EnvironmentVA) March 22, 2021
Making a Difference
Through its recently approved 2020-2030 Sustainability Plan, UVA has already been moving in this direction by aiming to reduce landfill waste and eliminate non-essential single-use plastics by 2030.
The school dining service, UVA Dine, continues recycling and composting and has undertaken several plastic reduction efforts with straws, bags, and single-use utensils, Andrea Trimble of the UVA Sustainability office informed. She explained that these efforts “will add up and make a big difference in our environmental footprint.”
Students have also welcomed the executive order. Lauding the efforts of the government, Clare O’Reilly, intern at the Student Public Interest Research Group at UVA, said the legislation is important because “As students we are going to have to deal with the long-term consequences of climate change, and any steps we can take to mitigate the effects would help us in the long run.”