Richmond, VA -- Gov. Ralph Northam has approved Del. Betsy Carr’s bill (HB1902) to ban polystyrene foam, commonly called Styrofoam, cups and take-out containers in Virginia. Polystyrene products are one of the most frequently observed kinds of plastic litter in the ocean. The ban will go into effect in 2023 for large chains and 2025 for small businesses and nonprofits.
Last month, the bipartisan bill passed the Virginia General Assembly after a two year effort. Del Carr’s bill passed the House of Delegates in 2020 but a reenactment clause was added by the Senate, requiring it to be re-introduced this year.
Elly Boehmer, state director of Environment Virginia issued the following statement:
Virginia’s waterways and wildlife are among the Commonwealth’s best assets and by taking action on this dangerous single use plastic, our leaders have chosen to put the planet over plastic.
By approving the bill, Governor Northam has recognized what most Virginians already know: a lot of waste comes from things we don’t need and we know we shouldn’t use, such as foam cups and take-out containers. This trash ends up in our open spaces and waterways, where it endangers wildlife. Polystyrene never breaks down, so it harms our environment for decades. Nothing we use for five minutes should pollute our planet for generations to come.
In passing this bill, Virginia sends a strong message regarding our role as an environmental leader. We thank Del. Carr for championing this bill for the past two years and her ongoing advocacy for the environment and Gov. Northam for pushing this over the finish line with his signature.
Environment Virginia has talked to tens of thousands of Virginians about plastic pollution and polystyrene and has collected more than 50,000 petitions calling on our leaders to take action on this crucial issue. Virginia’s leaders listened this year and we look forward to continuing to work with the administration and General Assembly to find solutions to plastic pollution.