Healey: State companies can be banned from shopping for single-use plastic bottles


The governor mentioned Massachusetts can be the primary U.S. state to institute such a ban, which she hopes will assist shield ocean life and scale back carbon emissions.

Gov. Maura Healey says she’ll enact a ban on state companies shopping for single-use plastic bottles. She hopes the measure will assist shield ocean life. Yuri Cortez/Getty Pictures

Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey introduced her plan to ban state companies from shopping for single-use plastic bottles Monday throughout a speech in regards to the significance of unpolluted oceans and biodiversity. 

Throughout a speech on the Clinton World Initiative in New York Metropolis, Healey mentioned the ban, which is supposed to guard ocean life and scale back carbon emissions, can be the primary enacted by a U.S. state. 

“Plastic manufacturing and plastic waste are among the many main threats to our oceans, our local weather, and environmental justice. In authorities, we’ve got an obligation to cease contributing to this harm and chart a greater path ahead,” she mentioned.

Healey’s workplace mentioned the governor plans to enact the ban via an govt order on Thursday. 

How the ban will impression Massachusetts 

The ban can be most noticeable when visiting state companies, which buy about 100,000 plastic bottles a 12 months throughout all departments, Healey’s workplace mentioned. For instance, the governor’s workplace gained’t be giving out bottled water in conferences. As a substitute, her workplace mentioned, guests will see extra water coolers and different forms of water dispensers. 

There are some exceptions to the ban, Healey’s workplace mentioned. It doesn’t apply to present contracts, or when there isn’t any various to plastic bottles, corresponding to throughout emergencies.

“We’re additionally encouraging all Massachusetts quasi-public authorities and boards to undertake their very own plans to eradicate their buying and sale of single-use plastic bottles,” Healey’s workplace mentioned in an announcement. 

In keeping with the Sierra Membership of Massachusetts, Individuals use about 50 billion single-use plastic water bottles a 12 months, however solely about 29% of these get recycled. Not solely do these bottles stay within the atmosphere for 1,000 years, however between the fossil fuels used to make them and their post-use impacts, the environmental group mentioned the carbon footprint of bottled water is 11 to 31 instances higher than faucet water.

In keeping with the Heart for Organic Range, swirling convergences of plastic make up about 40% of the world’s ocean surfaces, and far of it’s single-use plastic. The plastic might be lethal for marine life, it mentioned. 

These are among the many the explanation why, in 2012, Harmony grew to become the primary municipality within the state to ban the sale of single-use plastic water bottles. Since then, 24 different municipalities have carried out the identical. 

Healey addresses biodiversity loss

Along with the bottle ban, Healey mentioned she’d difficulty an govt order that may direct the state to ascertain biodiversity conservation objectives for 2030, 2040, and 2050. The state would even be tasked with growing methods to fulfill these targets.

The ensuing biodiversity protections can be “the strongest within the nation,” Healey promised in her speech. These will embrace steps to protect the state’s salt marshes, which shield from storm impacts and take away carbon from the environment. Officers may even have a look at methods corresponding to establishing “marine protected areas” that may safeguard coastal and ocean habitats, she mentioned. 

The governor highlighted that Massachusetts is residence to 432 species which are endangered, threatened, or of particular concern, and that worldwide, about one million species are getting ready to extinction. 

“We’ve spent many years working to guard our pure sources. However with local weather change accelerating the decline, biodiversity loss threatens public well being, financial stability, meals safety, and our emissions objectives,” Healey mentioned.

The governor additionally touted actions she’s taken to deal with environmental points since she took workplace earlier this 12 months, corresponding to establishing a state cabinet-level local weather chief, making a state local weather financial institution, and issuing over $31 million in grants to municipalities for local weather resilience efforts.

“In our coastal state, we all know local weather change is our largest menace. We additionally consider that taking motion is our biggest alternative – to safe a protected, affluent, and sustainable future,” Healey mentioned. 

Reactions to the ban

Many Massachusetts environmental teams praised the ban on Monday.

“Right now’s announcement makes use of the facility of the chief department to take swift motion to guard the ocean biodiversity that has supported our state for hundreds of years,” Environmental League of Massachusetts Vice President Amy Boyd Rabin mentioned in an announcement. 

“It’s a daring transfer, which we want extra of,” Mass Local weather Motion Community Govt Director Elischia Fludd mentioned in an announcement. “Main by instance to curb pointless plastic consumption is an efficient start line.”

Julia Blatt, govt director of Massachusetts Rivers Alliance, mentioned her group helps the ban as a result of plastic bottles typically find yourself in rivers and streams, and since bottled water is much less regulated and infrequently much less protected than faucet water. 

“Bottled water can also be many instances costlier than faucet water, so when the state companies purchase these little bottles, they’re losing taxpayer cash,” she mentioned in an announcement.

However not everybody concerned in state politics was happy. Jim Davidson, a candidate for the Massachusetts Republican State Committee, tweeted Monday, “Of all the problems dealing with Massachusetts, Maura Healey decides banning plastic bottles and bowing all the way down to the Clinton Initiative is a prime precedence.”