The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) is considering and targeting the federal purchases of single-use plastics, as we reported in July. The Int’l ITC lobbied many officials – and its members– to contact the GSA and support this review, particularly of purchases of single-use printer cartridges.  The GSA is the largest consumer of goods and services in the world.

The deadline to comment was September 28, and many important people submitted comments.  Chief among them was U.S. Congressman from New York and industry champion Joe Morelle.  “I am a strong advocate for the federal government adopting sustainable policies and practices and doing our part to combat climate change to

protect future generations,” Morelle wrote. “Reduction of single use plastics is a strong step in solving this complex issue. I strongly encourage the GSA to look to remanufactured products as a solution and an alternative to purchasing single use plastics. (Congressmen Joe Morelle is pictured above with Int’l ITC’s Executive Director Tricia Judge).

Congressman Morelle touted remanufactured products, and used cartridges as his example.  “The positive and valuable impact of remanufactured products is easily demonstrated through ink cartridges,” he wrote. “Annually, the U.S. adds 350 million printer cartridges to landfills, which equates to 350 million pounds of plastic. It takes roughly 1,000 years for a standard plastic cartridge to decompose in a landfill. This type of waste continues to compound annually and is unacceptable. Utilizing remanufactured cartridges cuts down on waste headed to landfills, reduces carbon emissions, and saves consumers money. This is just one example of the many benefits of remanufactured products.”

In a separate letter, U.S. Representatives Steve Cohen (TN-09), Jared Huffman (D-CA), Alan Lowenthal (CA-47), Mike Quigley (IL-05), and U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) led a bicameral group of 58 members of Congress in a letter to the GSA in response to the agency’s potential rulemaking focused on reducing unnecessary single-use plastics in government purchases. Congressman Quigley has long supported cartridge remanufacturers as well.

“Plastic pollution is one of the gravest environmental threats of our time,” the members wrote. “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. 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 full letter and list of congressmen can be viewed here.

The Int’l ITC submitted its own letter, as did several of its members.  Chief among them were American Laser Products, Clover Imaging, Green Planet, Photikon, Laser Save and Bendix Imaging.  The GSA will review these letters and then, hopefully, take the next steps towards removing these wasteful products from its bids.