Plastics Lobby Pushing to Shelve GSA Plan to Cut Single-Use Buys

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A new campaign launched by the Plastics Industry Association criticizes a rule proposed by the federal government’s chief procurement agency aimed at reducing the purchase of plastic goods.

Digital ads in Washington, D.C., will take an “outreach perspective” targeted toward policymakers and the general public, according to Matt Seaholm, president and CEO of the trade association. The content will focus on economic and environmental costs of moving to alternatives to plastic.

The General Services Administration is currently seeking public comments on its proposed rule that would establish requirements and reporting mechanisms for reducing unnecessary single-use plastic in the agency’s procurement, with responses due by Sept. 6.

The agency updated its acquisition manual in October 2021 to require consideration to reduce content waste, including packaging, as part of requirements planning for GSA acquisitions.

Seaholm is concerned that GSA posed “faulty” questions based on incorrect assumptions about plastic in the current rulemaking process and hopes that resources provided by the trade association will be “effective enough raising awareness that the issue will be put in a bottom drawer and not come back for a while.”

Curbing single-use plastics in federal purchasing is one item in an action plan endorsed by more than 620 organizations. The plan asks the Biden administration to take eight key executive actions to combat plastic pollution.

Federal Purchases of Single-Use Plastics Targeted by Biden’s GSA

An article from July 15 on the Plastics Industry Association website advocated for a different focus for GSA, saying it should be on “increased investment into sustainable, post-consumer recycling systems to ensure that as much post-consumer plastic as possible can be responsibly disposed of.”

Seaholm, in his interview with Bloomberg Government, emphasized that plastic, “as long as it’s recycled properly,” produces fewer greenhouse gases than alternatives over time.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kerry Burgott at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Amanda H. Allen at; Fawn Johnson at

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