Those watching Friday morning’s impeachment hearing in the 41-member House Judiciary Committee might have noticed a plastic water bottle at every representative’s seat.
To Colorado’s Joe Neguse, that represents a very obvious target in the much larger battle to address climate change.
“Ninety-nine percent of plastic is made from fossil fuels, with refinement being the most greenhouse gas-intensive part of the lifecycle, and almost all plastic ends up in oceans and landfills,” wrote Neguse, who represents the Second Congressional District, to House Administration Committee Chair Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif.
Also signing the letter was U.S. Rep. Kim Schrier, D-Wash. The Administration Committee oversees House expenses, security, and also federal elections. Neguse and Schrier asked Lofgren to eliminate single-use plastic water bottles in “committee rooms, hearings and proceedings.”
“While climate change is a global problem, solving it depends on the power of our individual choices as consumers; each decision we make has a real cumulative impact on our environment,” Neguse said.
A review of video suggests that Neguse was indeed not using plastic bottles during this week’s Judiciary hearings.
The House Administration Committee did not immediately have a response to the letter.
In 2017, The Guardian reported that consumers worldwide bought 20,000 water bottles each second, and fewer than half were recycled. A British House of Commons committee heard testimony from an industry representative that manufacturing water bottles from recycled plastic uses 75% less energy than new plastic, but whether to do so “is a decision made by brands.”