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VA Universities Phase Out Single-Use Plastic

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UVA
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Last week, a new state requirement took effect, requiring agencies to stop buying or selling single use plastics, and universities across the Commonwealth have now come up with plans to eliminate them. 

Colleges and universities are planning to vastly reduce throw-away plastic on campus.  At UVA, sustainability director Andrea Trimble says people from various programs met virtually for three months.  “We formed our working group of over 40 people to figure out how to do this as well as inventory all of the plastics at UVA.”

While some medical uses will remain, the school plans to cut out all plastic that could be replaced by something re-usable or compostable.

“That includes single-use plastic food service containers, straws, cutlery, plastic bags and plastic water bottles," Trimble explains.  "Then the second phase will be focused on reducing all single-use plastics 25% annually up to 100% by 2025.”

The university says it will add water stations where students, faculty and staff can re-fill re-usable bottles and will provide more bins for collecting compost. 

UVA is collaborating with Virginia Tech, Radford, JMU and other schools, and Trimble says teams formed to attack the problem of plastic waste are excited.

“We all try to be really collaborative and help each other," says Trimble. "If we succeed we want others to succeed and vice versa.  I would say people really leaned into it right away.”  

Contracts are in place to recycle all kinds of plastic, and two people from the engineering program plan to help UVA choose the best alternatives to single use plastic.  

***Editor's Note: The University of Virginia is a financial supporter of Radio IQ.