Eleven AGs Sent Comments Urging GSA to Strengthen Efforts to Curb Plastic Pollution

District of Columbia Attorney General Brian Schwalb and Massachusetts Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell led a coalition of 11 attorneys general in sending comments on the General Services Administration’s (GSA) proposed rule that would encourage federal purchasers to replace products that have single-use plastic packaging with more sustainable alternatives. In their comments, the AGs emphasized the importance of the GSA’s proposed efforts given the severity of the plastic pollution crisis, but urged the agency to phase out all single-use plastic items, rather than only focusing on packaging. Given that plastic pollution—which has been measured at over 400 million tons per year—is set to triple by 2060, the coalition explained that GSA’s current proposal lacked urgency and would “hardly scratch the surface of the plastic waste crisis and, at worst, may inadvertently exacerbate it.” Specifically, the AGs warned that the voluntary nature of the agency’s proposed rule could “create the appearance of addressing a problem despite having little or no material effect on it,” and could also put sustainable alternatives at a competitive disadvantage. The comments offered recommendations for how GSA could strengthen its efforts, including by removing single-use plastic items from its procurement platform and making the transition towards more sustainable alternatives mandatory.