Massachusetts bans purchase of single-use plastic bottles by state agencies
BOSTON (WGGB/WSHM/AP) — Gov. Maura Healey signed an executive order Thursday that she says will make Massachusetts the first state to ban the purchase of single-use plastic bottles by state agencies.
Massachusetts buys about 100,000 of the plastic water bottles each year.
The order bars all executive offices and agencies in Massachusetts from purchasing any single-use plastic bottles under 21 fluid ounces except in cases of emergency. Healey, a Democrat, said the executive order takes effect immediately.
Healey also signed a second executive order that she said will set state biodiversity conservation goals for 2030, 2040, and 2050 — and develop strategies to meet those targets. She said protections will be among the first to extend to coastal and marine habitats.
“Massachusetts has a long history of being first in the nation, and we’re proud to be the first to set long-term targets for biodiversity and to ban state agencies from purchasing single-use plastic bottles,” Healey said Thursday.
She said the state will be looking at strategies such as “marine protected areas” to help make sure that coastal and ocean habitats critical to biodiversity can recover and thrive while also ensuring the state helps maintains a climate-resilient landscape for the future.
Christy Leavitt, campaign director at the conservation group Oceana, said other states and the federal government should follow the state’s lead.
“Single-use plastics are polluting our oceans, devastating ecosystems, and harming our climate. The only solution is to stop the problem at its source by reducing the amount of plastic companies produce and use,” Leavitt said in a written statement.
However, it’s important to note there are limited exceptions to the ban, including in the case of emergencies.
This order comes after a drastic water main break this month left Springfield in a state of emergency with a boil water order.
We reached out to MEMA and a spokesperson confirmed that preparing and responding to an emergency is an exemption.
We asked residents what they thought the order and some folks, like John Garvey of Wilbraham, think plastic water bottles should be used responsibly.
“I get it and I recycle my single-use water bottles, but I actually do find the use of them convenient and sometimes, it’s hard to just use, you know, the reusable ones all the time,” Garvey said.
Copyright 2023. Western Mass News (WGGB/WSHM). Information from the Associated Press was included in this report. All rights reserved.