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GSA Has Opportunity to Lead Circularity Instead of Pursuing Environmentally Damaging, Costly Plastic Bans

Plastics Can Help Avoid GHG Emissions Compared to Alternative Materials

Matthew Kastner

WASHINGTON, DC (September 7, 2022) — Yesterday, the American Chemistry Council’s (ACC) Plastics Division submitted comments to the General Services Administration’s (GSA) advanced notice of proposed rulemaking exploring whether to ban “single-use plastics” in its procurement practices.

ACC expressed significant concern with GSA’s advanced notice considering banning single-use plastics in its procurement practices, which would:

  • Increase the U.S. government’s greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint as lifecycle analysis studies have repeatedly shown plastics lower GHG emissions compared to common alternatives in packaging and consumer products. 
  • Increase waste sent to landfill as alternative materials typically result in items that weigh more than those made with plastics.
  • Increase costs for the federal government, funded by taxpayers.

Instead, ACC encouraged the GSA to follow the science when it comes to product procurement. According to multiple studies, including most recently a report by McKinsey & Company, plastics have a lower GHG impact than alternative materials in 13 out of 14 applications studied. A single-use plastics ban would run contrary to the Administration’s important goal of reducing GHG emissions. America’s Plastics Makers have also outlined a comprehensive federal proposal, 5 Actions for Sustainable Change, that will accelerate a circular economy for plastics.

Plastics belong in a sustainable economy, not our environment; the GSA has a unique opportunity to be a leader in increasing access to plastics recycling and procuring products made from recycled plastics. GSA should set an example for other international, state and local governments, corporate office spaces, and even consumers. Such a move would help lower government’s GHG footprint, increase the use of recycled plastics in new products, and avoid additional costs to government and taxpayers.

ACC hopes to collaborate with GSA to find better ways to improve our environment and accelerate a more circular economy. To download our full comments submitted to GSA, please click here.

American Chemistry Council’s Plastics Division

The American Chemistry Council’s Plastics Division represents America’s Plastic MakersSM and the half million+ scientists, engineers, technicians, and other innovators who make plastics for many essential and lifesaving products that are vital to modern life. America’s Plastic Makers continue to embrace change. We’re linking innovation with sustainability, deploying next generation technologies to make plastics lighter, stronger, more efficient and more recyclable, so we can meet our goal for 100% of U.S. plastic packaging to be reused, recycled, or recovered by 2040. We’re making sustainable change to help build a cleaner, safer, more sustainable future for generations to come. 

American Chemistry Council

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) represents the leading companies engaged in the multibillion-dollar business of chemistry. ACC members apply the science of chemistry to make innovative products, technologies and services that make people's lives better, healthier and safer. ACC is committed to improved environmental, health, safety and security performance through Responsible Care®; common sense advocacy addressing major public policy issues; and health and environmental research and product testing. ACC members and chemistry companies are among the largest investors in research and development, and are advancing products, processes and technologies to address climate change, enhance air and water quality, and progress toward a more sustainable, circular economy.

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