Nearly 60 senators and members of Congress wrote President Joe Biden's administration Sept. 22, urging it to reduce purchases of single-use plastics in government supply chains.
The letter to the General Services Administration, which oversees government procurement, comes as that agency is considering writing new regulations directing federal agencies to cut back on single-use plastics.
The letter from the 58 lawmakers, led by Rep. Jared Huffmann, D-Calif., Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., and others, tied the move to tackling the climate crisis.
"As the single largest purchaser of goods across the world, the U.S. government has an important opportunity to do the right thing and lead by example," they said.
"Not only is such a move necessary in light of the climate crisis and environmental justice concerns, a plan to phase out single-use plastics in federal procurement policies also opens the door for a growing community of sustainable product enterprises and a socially and environmentally responsible economy," the lawmakers wrote.
Industry groups have pushed back strongly on the GSA action, warning that it could push government procurement toward other products with a higher environmental footprint.
A recent study from the Plastics Industry Association said that GSA spending on plastics packaging supports 1,800 jobs directly in plastics packaging companies and 7,400 in the broader economy.