Maura Healey To Ban Massachusetts State Agencies From Buying Single-Use Plastic Bottles

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Massachusetts state agencies will no longer be allowed to buy single-use plastic bottles, Governor Maura Healey announced in a speech at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York on Monday.

“In government, we have an obligation to stop contributing to this damage and chart a better path forward,” Healey said in her speech. “So we are proud to become the first state to adopt a procurement ban on single-use plastic bottles.”

“I will sign an executive order that bans the purchase of single-use plastics by state agencies in Massachusetts,” she later added. “We know that plastic waste, plastic production are among the leading threats to our oceans, our climate, and environmental justice. In government we have an obligation, we also have an opportunity to not only stop contributing to this damage but to chart a better path forward.”

The governor announced on Twitter (now formally called “X”) that the ban on state agencies’ purchasing single-use plastic bottles will be “effective immediately.”

The move comes as certain municipalities in Massachusetts have tried to cut plastic use by banning single-use plastic shopping bags and water bottles. Yet this new executive order merely applies to single-use plastic bottles, not shopping bags, straws, or any other single-use plastic materials.

However, the move is not absolute.

Karissa Hand, press secretary for Governor Healey, told NewBostonPost that there will be exceptions.

“There are exemptions for when there is no alternative to plastic bottles, including during emergencies or when we need to protect health, safety, and welfare,” Hand said by email.

The answer came in response to two questions by NewBostonPost. NewBostonPost asked if there was a possibility to waive the requirement in times of natural disasters if the state needed to provide people with clean drinking water.

NewBostonPost also asked if the governor’s decision would affect migrants’ access to clean drinking water. That question went unanswered.

Massachusetts state employees speaking to NewBostonPost on the condition of anonymity Monday said they could see the new rule having a marginal impact on day-to-day operations, but they said they do not think it will significantly reduce plastic waste. 

For example, one said the rule would prevent agencies from purchasing packs of bottled water for future informational events, including barbecues.

Another said that if a state agency were to hire a catering service to provide meals for an event, as they sometimes do, the rule may limit their options. 

A state employee who works in a different area of state government noted that that person’s agency does not use single-use plastics, so the measure will have no effect there.

The Healey administration will likely release the full guidelines of the ban later this week. 


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