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Update regarding Executive Order 77: Virginia Leading by Example to Reduce Plastic Pollution and Solid Waste

From: Virginia Tech Procurement and the Office of Sustainability

Virginia Tech has established a cross-functional university working group to develop a coordinated response to Executive Order 77: Virginia Leading by Example to Reduce Plastic Pollution and Solid Waste, signed into effect by Gov. Ralph Northam in March 2021.

Executive Order 77 requires state agencies, including Virginia Tech, to (1) 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; and (2) develop a long-term Plastic Pollution Reduction and Waste Diversion Plan.

The goal of the working group is to gather more details and guidance on the order, assess and consider the potential impacts to university operations, and develop an implementation plan. The group is collaborating closely with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, which is overseeing the order’s statewide implementation, and with other Virginia colleges and universities impacted by the order.

Procurement and the Office of Sustainability will continue to share updates on the working group’s efforts via VT News in the coming months. The working group is planning to release a Frequently Asked Questions webpage as an additional resource for colleges and departments.

Enacting sustainable procurement policies and procedures is a key tenet in the 2020 Virginia Tech Climate Action Commitment, approved in March 2021. Authorized initially in 2009, the Climate Action Commitment provides a Virginia Tech-specific, actionable framework for advancing sustainability and energy efficiency in campus operations, academics, research, and more. The university recently earned a “Gold” rating for its sustainability achievements from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.  

Please send questions to the university’s Executive Order 77 working group at VTPlasticReduce@vt.edu.

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