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Single-Use Plastic? Biden Administration Isn’t Buying It

Image courtesy of Alamy/ZUMA Press Inc. President Biden speaking about climate change
The General Services Administration is seeking public feedback to inform rules on reducing the use of unnecessary single-use plastic.

Responding to a legal petition from the Center for Biological Diversity and 180 other community and conservation groups, the Biden administration has initiated a process to evaluate ways in which the federal government can reduce the purchase and use of single-use plastic.

Specifically, the General Services Administration (GSA), which acquires and supplies services across the federal government, has issued an advance notice of proposed rule making (ANPR), seeking public feedback “pertaining to the use of plastic consumed in both packaging and shipping, as well as other single-use plastics for which the agency contracts.” The GSA said that submitted comments will inform future rule making to establish requirements and reporting mechanisms for reducing the use of unnecessary single-use plastic.

In the ANPR, the GSA states that it is supporting the goals of an executive order signed by President Biden that seeks to align “the management of Federal procurement and real property, public lands and waters, and financial programs to support robust climate action.” Sometimes called “America’s buyer,” the GSA said it is interested in its potential to play a supporting role in this effort by reducing reliance on single-use plastic.

In the request for public feedback, GSA lists several questions, asking about such things as the amount of control the respondent has in their company over the type of material used to ship packages and regulatory or cost barriers that may affect the use of more sustainable packaging to liability risks that companies may face if a change in packaging is associated with damaged goods.

The deadline to respond is Sept. 6, 2022, 60 days after the document’s publication today in the Federal Register.

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