Youngkin Replaces State Agency Ban Phasing Out Single-Use Plastics with Order Promoting Recycling

Glenn Youngkin wearing a safety vest; at a landfill

Governor Glenn Youngkin has rescinded an executive order from former Governor Ralph Northam that ordered Virginia agencies to phase out single-use plastics and Styrofoam. Youngkin issued a new executive order to promote recycling in state agencies and eliminate food waste.

“Too often in the past, Virginia has been presented with a false choice between saving our environment and growing our economy. The growing market for post-consumer recyclables demonstrates that we can do both,” Youngkin said in a press release. “We need to bridge that disconnect to better conserve our natural resources, reduce waste that goes out to landfills and promote new clean energy jobs here in Virginia. We should be focusing our resources and energy on providing a cleaner supply of recyclable materials.”

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Virginia Gov. Northam Signs Restaurant Styrofoam Ban, Issues Ban on Single-Use Plastics for Some State Agencies

Governor Ralph Northam signed a ban on executive branch state agencies using single-use plastics. On Tuesday, he announced Executive Order 77 at the Environment Virginia Symposium held at Virginia Military Institute. He also announced the signing of Delegate Betsy Carr’s (D-Richmond) food vendor Styrofoam ban bill.

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Virginia General Assembly Approves Styrofoam Ban

The General Assembly passed a polystyrene (Styrofoam) ban for serving food in restaurants and similar vendors in Virginia. The bill, passed on Wednesday, will first take effect in July 2023 to large vendors with more than 20 locations; in July 2025, it will apply to all vendors, although vendors can apply for temporary exemptions to their localities. Violation can result in a $50 per day fine.

Senator Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax) pushed HB 1902 in the Senate as a compromise to allow the House of Delegates to pass a bill adjusting regulation of new recycling technology. Republicans opposed the polystyrene ban, saying it would harm small businesses, but supported Senator Emmet Hanger’s (R-Augusta) advanced recycling regulation bill.

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