On Sept. 21, Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey signed an executive order that bans all state agencies from purchasing single-use plastic bottles, requires agencies to reduce the sale of single-use plastic bottles on all state property, and requires agencies to limit the purchase, use or sale of single-use plastic bottles to certain defined circumstances. The order takes effect immediately, and agencies have until December 31 to show proof of compliance. It does not apply when it conflicts with existing contract requirements or labor agreements in existence as of this date, or agreements solicited before the date of the order.
According to a government affairs update from the National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA), this is the first plastic bottle ban of its kind in the country. Massachusetts and Maine considered bills to enact similar bans legislatively this year, but those efforts had stalled. NAMA coordinated with the Massachusetts Vending Association and the New England Refreshment Services Association to submit testimony to the Massachusetts legislature that cautioned against adopting a ban like this because it limits consumer choice and access.
NAMA says it will continue engaging with partners in Massachusetts in response to the executive order and that the executive order is likely to have an outsized effect on the convenience services industry, which mostly offers single-use products. When a state experiments with these types of mandates, other states may follow.