Inova Health System Removes Single Use Plastics from 5 Major Northern VA Hospitals

I’m not sure why I haven’t seen more talk about this monumental move by Inova Hospitals (the other article can be found here). But then I start to talk about it and I hear people pumping the breaks. I hear them say things like “a hospital is the one place we do need single use plastics!” or “that’s taking it a little far, don’t you think?”

So far there has been no declaration on Inova’s website (that I can find anyway) and no public press release.

Just to be clear: They are removing single use plastics from public spaces like the cafeterias and gift shops.

J. Stephen Jones, M.D., president and CEO at Inova was quoted

“We understand the health of our planet affects the health of our patients and community, and encourage others in our industry to join this endeavor.”

According to Seema Wadhwa, Inova Health System assistant vice president of sustainability and wellness, the hospitals use about 3 million plastic straws a year which is about 1 mile of straws being used every day. This is a huge step in the right direction. Hospital officials recognize that straws play an important role in accessibility for some patients and have a plan in place.

Acknowledging that straws can be essential for some disabled individuals and patients, the hospital will stock eco-friendly, paper straws for use when necessary. The target date to eliminate plastic straws from hospital public areas is America Recycles Day on Nov. 15.


This is amazing. A monumental move for Northern VA and for the Hospital Industry. I just can’t seem to understand why more people aren’t talking about this. Why are we so hesitant to explore the potential these big moves can have on our planet and our lifestyles? Why is this a hot-button topic and how can we change the way we speak about these issues in order to change the way they are received?

I hope that by not aggressively publicizing this move, that the action will speak for itself. When other groups have announced huge moves to get off single-use plastics, they have faced a lot of backlash from various groups and individuals. Maybe we’re not hearing about it because we can’t handle it until we see a viable example of a ban in progress.

3 million plastic straws a year. 3. Million. In just 5 years, we will have effectively prevented 15 million straws from entering our landfills, waterways and oceans. That’s right, I can do math too.

That’s pretty amazing if you ask me.




2 Comments on “Inova Health System Removes Single Use Plastics from 5 Major Northern VA Hospitals

  1. This is my first time hearing about this! I think businesses see the benefits of hopping on the sustainability bandwagon because they acknowledge the environmental movement but they also have the opportunity to save money at their companies. So it’s a win-win. Thanks for the update!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah definitely, and maybe they choose to recognize those benefits without publicizing them because of the potential backlash they could experience.
      This is such an awesome thing for them to do!

      Liked by 1 person

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