UVA Takes Big Step in Reducing Single-Use Plastic and Polystyrene
In March 2021, Governor Ralph Northam signed Executive Order 77, requiring all state agencies to eliminate a variety of single-use plastic and polystyrene products by July 21st, 2021. In accordance with this, the University of Virginia's EO77 Working Group developed a reduction plan to cease buying, selling, and distributing "disposable plastic bags, single-use plastic and polystyrene food service containers, plastic straws and cutlery, and single-use plastic water bottles." There are existing inventories of single-use plastics, so while the order went into effect on July 21, existing inventories may be used past this deadline until they are depleted.
News of this shift towards a more sustainable Grounds was circulated to the University Community on July 1st. The announcement included specific examples of adjustments to be implemented July 21st, including a greater availability of compost bins, stations for refilling reusable water bottles, and compostable containers and utensils. Additionally, the University emphasized a variety of resources and informational sessions for any interested members of the community. Among these are a slide deck overviewing of EO77 expectations and open houses throughout the month of July and into the first week of August. Detailed trainings for purchasers, event planners, and students will be released later in August.
Though the majority of the changes being made will have already taken place before the fall semester begins, the Executive Order offers students a chance to become more active participants in UVA's sustainability goals and more eco-conscious individuals, both on and off Grounds.
Here are some changes you can expect to see throughout UVA Dine locations:
Compostable food containers & utensils throughout dining locations
Paper or reusable bags instead of plastic bags in C-stores
Aluminum water bottles offered in Catering & retail locations
Opportunities for students & guests to use reusables
*Note: We plan to use up existing inventory of single-use plastics in order to reduce unnecessary waste. As inventory of single-use plastic is depleted, we will transition to compostable products. Some locations may transition sooner than others.
Click the following for further details about Executive Order 77 and UVA's Single-Use Plastics Reduction Strategy: