Energy & Environment

Biden administration eyes limits on single-use plastics in government purchases

Associated Press/Mohammed Ballas

The Biden administration may set some limits on the use of single-use plastics in goods that are purchased by the federal government. 

The General Services Administration (GSA), which oversees federal government purchasing, said in a notice published on Thursday that it could restrict the purchases.

Single-use plastics contribute significantly to the world’s waste. A report last year from an Australian nonprofit found that globally, more than 130 million metric tons of plastics used a single time were thrown away in 2019. 

In its notice, the GSA asked the public for information on plastic consumed in packaging and shipping and other single-use plastics in agency contracts. 

It said that this information will be used to inform a future rule that sets up requirements and reporting mechanisms aimed at reducing “unnecessary” single use-plastic, including in packaging and shipping materials. 

The notice follows a separate step by the Interior Department to phase out single-use plastics in national parks and on public lands by 2032.

The latest move from the GSA comes after a formal request from environmental groups for the agency to address the issue. 

The author of that petition, Emily Jeffers, called the notice “promising” in a statement. 

“I hope this incredibly promising development marks the start of a federal commitment to strike at the root of the plastic pollution crisis,” said Jeffers, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity. 

Tags Biden General Services Administration Single-use plastics

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