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.