Will reduce use of single-use plastic items, offer straw alternatives for the disabled

Falls Church, VA – Today Inova announced it will eliminate plastic straws and reduce single-use plastic items in public areas, such as cafeterias and gift shops in all five hospitals in the system.  Inova, the largest health system in Northern Virginia, is leading sustainability efforts to contribute to a healthier environment.

Inova currently uses three million straws annually or a mile of straws every day. This initiative is part of Inova’s larger plan to reduce or eliminate all single-use plastic items including utensils, coffee stirrers, dishware and cups. Eliminating these plastic items will ensure that these items do not find their way into the waterways and pollute the Chesapeake Bay or surrounding areas.

“We are proud to be the first health system on the East Coast to eliminate plastic straws and look forward to partnering with our vendors to reduce unnecessary impact on the environment,” said J. Stephen Jones, MD, President and CEO, Inova.

“Inova recognizes that being a leader in healthcare means caring for our environment as well as our patients. 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.”

Inova is looking into environmentally friendly alternatives for products that cannot be completely eliminated. Straws continue to be an essential tool for disabled individuals and are available for patients and visitors who need them.

“Petrochemical plastics are polluting our oceans, clogging our rivers and filling up our landfills. Some plastics require toxic additives that can pollute our bodies when they are used,” according to Gary Cohen, President, Health Care Without Harm and Practice Greenhealth. “Inova is demonstrating great leadership in the health sector by banning the use of plastic straws and evaluating where else they can reduce their plastic waste. This announcement shows that Inova has a larger mission to heal communities and the environment in addition to providing quality care to its patients.”

The system-wide initiative will eliminate plastic straws from public areas, such as cafeteria settings with a target date of America Recycles Day on November 15.

Media Contact: Tracy Connell, tracy.connell@inova.org, 703-289-2087


About Inova:

Inova is a global leader in personalized health, which leverages precision medicine together with more patient-centric services to predict, prevent and treat disease, enabling individuals to live longer, healthier lives. At Inova, we serve more than 2 million people each year from throughout the Washington, DC, metro area and beyond.

We are shaping the future of health through our integrated network of hospitals, primary and specialty care practices, emergency and urgent care centers, outpatient services and destination institutes.  Our commitment to health and wellness is further reflected in our sustainable practices. Inova is home to world-class researchers, expert medical specialists and renowned scientists, who are driving innovation to improve patient care, prevent disease and promote wellness. For more information, visit inova.org, or find Inova on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.


  1. Alex S on July 31, 2018 at 7:42 pm

    This makes my heart so happy! Thank you, Inova for paving the way and making responsible decisions for a cleaner earth!

  2. Paula on July 31, 2018 at 9:45 pm

    Congratulations on being a leader! Caring for peoples health really includes caring for where we live. Sorry I don’t live near your care system, sounds great.

  3. Michelle on August 2, 2018 at 3:22 pm

    So proud of Inova! Thank you for caring!

  4. Ruth on August 7, 2018 at 11:13 am

    That is a great idea!!! We need to work together.

  5. Juana on August 14, 2018 at 11:28 am

    I’d like to thank you Mr. Jones for the decision of Inova to take the first step to take care of the only House we have, the planet Earth.

  6. Maria on August 22, 2018 at 4:38 pm

    Thank you for caring and making a difference! Feel so proud!

  7. Marija on August 23, 2018 at 2:40 am

    This news makes me proud being part of INOVA team.Looking forward to more green decisions.

  8. Deb on August 23, 2018 at 7:45 am

    Thank you for taking this step and making a difference. I would love to see Inova stop the use of all Styrofoam. It is used in the cafeteria and at all meetings. I have seen bins of the stuff in the trash. I cringe every time I see it.

  9. THOMAS on August 23, 2018 at 5:56 pm


  10. Sarah on August 28, 2018 at 9:13 pm

    Thank you for taking this step to help save our planet.

  11. Badger Jack on August 30, 2018 at 9:23 pm

    AS one who is Disabled, I am eager to hear WHAT you are going to do for Disabled people who NEED a straw to be able to drink?
    For all you people who are so quick to give thanks for this decision, just imagine YOU, or SOMEONE in your life, has only one good hand, or only partial use of one hand, or you shake so badly that it is IMPOSSIBLE for you to drink ANY liquid witout the use of a straw…
    Please think first!

    • InovaNewsroom on September 5, 2018 at 3:18 pm

      Inova’s mission is to care for individuals and families throughout their lives and at all stages of wellness. Our commitment to providing the best of care to our community has not changed. We know that straws are an essential tool for some individuals with disabilities and we will always provide them to patients and visitors who need them. The health and well-being of our patients and visitors is our number one priority and we are working in partnership with our sustainability, ADA and special needs departments to ensure our patients receive the care and tools they need to thrive.

      This initiative is part of a larger plastics reduction campaign to help improve the health of our environment and ultimately the health of the community. We will consider the functionality and practicality of all options and we will listen to the voices and concerns of the community as we make these decisions to ensure everyone’s needs are met. We look forward to continuing our dialogue with community members and will provide more specifics and information as we roll-out this program.

Leave a Comment