In January and March 2021, news provider EcoWatch reported on two pieces of legislation passed by the governor of the US state of Virginia banning polystyrene food containers as well as phasing out non-reusable plastics.

On January 13, 2021, Virginia’s governor, Ralph Northam, approved bill HB1902 that will ban dispensing polystyrene food service containers by food vendors. The bill will come into force partially by July 1, 2023, and sets the final phase-out date for all food vendors of July 1, 2025. The penalty will amount to $50 for each day of violation. Civil organizations will be exempt from the ban. A migrant from polystyrene foam plastics (CAS 9003-53-6), styrene (CAS 100-42-5) has been characterized by the World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as probably carcinogenic (FPF reported).

Alex Truelove, zero-waste program director for U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) commented: “Polystyrene foam containers are among the most common, harmful and non-recyclable plastic products on the market. Getting rid of foam encourages better alternatives, particularly reusable containers, in addition to recyclable and compostable ones.” Similar legislative actions have been passed in the US states of New Jersey (FPF reported), New York (FPF reported), and Maine (FPF reported).

On March 23, Northam also signed an executive order intended to regulate the phase-out of non-reusable plastics at state institutions. The legislation will require a ban of unnecessary single-use items by July 21, 2021, including among others, food containers, cutlery, and water bottles. Exceptions will be made for plastics needed for medical and public safety uses.

Read More

Oliviae Rosane (March 24, 2021). “Virginia Governor Takes Action on Single-Use Plastics.” EcoWatch

Megan Quinn (March 23, 2021). “Virgina’s Legislative HB 1902 Expanded polystyrene food service containers; prohibition, civil penalty.” Waste Dive

Common Wealth of Virginia (March 23, 2021). “Virginia leading by example to reduce plastic pollution and solid waste.