We all do our best to cut down on our plastic use — it’s time corporations such as Amazon did the same

The institutions we interact with in our day-to-day lives make it all but impossible to avoid unnecessary plastic waste. That’s why one of our biggest New Year’s resolutions for 2023 is to convince corporations such as Amazon, Whole Foods and Costco to implement meaningful reductions in their plastic use.

Beyond plastic

Oceana | Used by permission

Single-use plastic is everywhere — in our shopping carts, in our online deliveries and even at our favorite restaurants.

Up until now, the status quo has been for companies such as Amazon, Whole Foods and Costco to flood our lives with single-use plastics — while we’re left to deal with the consequences.

To reduce all this senseless waste and ensure future generations inherit a cleaner, less polluted world, we’re ramping up our organizing and advocacy to move more corporations and institutions beyond single-use plastic. 

You can help power these campaigns into 2023 and beyond by making a special year-end donation to PIRG to help us reach our $100,000 goal by Dec. 31.

New year, new opportunities to move our country beyond plastic

I think all of us, in one form or another, like to “reset” at the start of a new year. That doesn’t necessarily mean you wake up on Jan. 1 a completely different person — rather, you look to the year ahead and decide on one or two things you want to do in that time to improve yourself and the world around you.

With waste and pollution continuing to pile up at a breakneck pace, it makes total sense that oftentimes our resolutions revolve around trying to live more sustainably. We promise we’ll stop forgetting our reusable grocery bags when we go to the supermarket; we make a bigger effort to buy organic or local; we get a compost bin.

The problem is that by and large, the institutions we interact with in our day-to-day lives make it all but impossible to avoid unnecessary, harmful waste — especially in the form of single-use plastic.

It’s one of the biggest obstacles to achieving the zero-waste future we all want. But it’s also one of our biggest opportunities to make immediate, concrete and lasting change. If even just a few of our country’s biggest corporations — Amazon, Costco and the like — heed their customers’ calls and commit to moving beyond plastic, it’ll be only a matter of time before their competitors follow suit.

Together, we can make that happen in 2023.

We know the stakes, and so do our country’s biggest corporations

For you and me, the alarming statistics on the severity of our plastic waste crisis — a garbage truck’s worth of plastic dumped into our oceans every 45 seconds, less than 10% of plastic in general being recycled, etc. — remind us of the urgency of the problem. They incite us to take action so that our children and grandchildren may inherit a less polluted world.

Unfortunately, it seems as though too many major corporations aren’t grasping that urgency (or at least they aren’t acting on it as strongly or as swiftly as they could be). Whole Foods, for example, scored an “F” two years in a row on a survey of different companies’ efforts to reduce plastic waste. Amazon, meanwhile, used more than 200 million pounds of single-use plastic packaging for its deliveries in 2021 alone.

How do we convince corporate giants to finally move beyond plastic? We raise a call too loud to ignore.

Across the country, PIRG advocates and organizers are knocking on doors, circulating petitions, getting the word out in the media, and taking dozens of other actions all aimed at raising a call too loud for these companies to ignore.

And we know our strategy works: It played a role in Coca-Cola’s recent commitment to up its recycled plastic content, in the rapidly increasing percentage of Amazon’s shareholders calling for major reductions in plastic use, and in state laws eliminating single-use plastics that now cover 1 in every 3 Americans. That’s the power of organizing.

Our End of Year Drive ends at midnight on Dec. 31. Will you donate before the deadline to win even bigger progress on our campaigns to move major corporations beyond plastic in the year ahead?

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Authors

Matt Casale

Director, Environment Campaigns, PIRG

Matt oversees PIRG's toxics, transportation and zero waste campaigns and leads PIRG’s climate program to promote a cleaner, healthier future for all Americans. Matt lives in Amherst, Massachusetts, with his wife, two daughters and chihuahua.

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