UN, Clinton Initiative put plastics in the spotlight, whether the industry wanted it or not

We expect to hear a lot about plastics — most of it negative — over the next few days outside of New York.

The city hosts the annual meeting of former President Bill Clinton’s Clinton Global Initiative from September 18 to 19 and the United Nations General Assembly from September 18 to 26. Both events will highlight sustainability efforts around the world alongside security, healthcare and human rights.

Look no further than Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey’s September 18 announcement for an example of what might happen. Haley said she will sign an executive order later this week to ban state agencies from purchasing single-use plastic water bottles, effective immediately, Boston-based television station WBTS reported.

If that happens, Massachusetts would be the first state in the country to take this action. It would also come after state lawmakers failed in previous attempts to enact the ban.

“I will sign an executive order banning the purchase of single-use plastic bottles by state agencies, effective immediately.” Healy wrote in a social media post. “Plastics are one of the biggest threats to our oceans. In government, we can chart a better way forward, and Massachusetts is proud to lead the way.”

It remains to be seen exactly how this will happen and the details of what any ban will cover. I’m also not sure what the state will do during a state of emergency if it needs to distribute drinking water. Yes, there are bottled water options, but those are not readily available.

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