Massachusetts will be the first state to stop buying plastic, governor says

Massachusetts will no longer buy single-use plastic products, the governor announced to start the week.

Speaking Monday in New York at an early morning session of the Clinton Global Initiative, Gov. Maura Healey used her brief time at the podium to announce she will issue two executive orders in the coming days, one of which would call on the Commonwealth’s procurement officers to stop buying so-called disposable plastics.

“I will sign an executive order that bans the purchase of single use plastics by state agencies in Massachusetts,” the Bay State’s 73rd Governor said to open a session titled “Turning tides: how to accelerate sustainable practices for ocean conservation.”

According to Healey, her order will make Massachusetts the first of the 50 states governments to officially stop purchasing single use plastic bottles. The order will be effective immediately upon issue, the governor said.

“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,” she said.

Healey also announced a second “groundbreaking new step” aimed at mitigating the impacts of climate change on the state’s biodiversity.

“Currently in Massachusetts, over 430 species are listed as endangered. Scientists estimate that worldwide, one million face extinction. We’ve spent decades working to protect our natural resources, but with climate change accelerating the decline, biodiversity loss threatens public health, economic stability, food security, and our emissions goals,” Healey said.

Through a second executive order, the governor said she would direct the state’s government to establish “biodiversity conservation targets” for 2030, 2040 and 2050, and come up with a plan to meet those goals.

“These biodiversity protections will be the strongest in the nation,” Healey said. “They will also be among the first to extend to coastal and maritime habitats.”

The governor has been vocal about her intention to put the impacts of climate change front and center and her administration’s work to make Massachusetts more climate resilient.

Just hours into her first full day on the job, Healey signed an executive order creating the Office of Climate Innovation and Resilience and naming Melissa Hoffer the state’s Climate Chief, the first such cabinet level position established by any state.

“Our natural world recognizes no political divisions and neither should our work to protect it,” the governor said Monday. “So I offer Massachusetts’ partnership, and I invite colleagues and leaders across America and around the world to take action for the health of our oceans and the long term well being of our people.”

Under current state law, the Commonwealth must reach a carbon emissions standard of “net zero” by 2050.

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