Three big wins for the public interest in 2023

The past year saw real results for the public interest -- and support from people like you helped make it possible.

Good news

Andy Smith | TPIN

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We have some good news to share as we head into 2024: The past year saw some real results for the public interest.

On issues from securing the right to repair our stuff to protecting our families from toxic chemicals, concerned, informed and active citizens have stepped up time and time again to help PIRG defend the public interest. Despite all the challenges we face, there is still an abundance of hope for a healthier, cleaner world. 

Here are just a few examples of the real progress PIRG has been able to achieve with the help of supporters like you: 

1. We helped win more Americans the right to fix their stuff

This past year, our national Right to Repair campaign helped Colorado, Minnesota and California pass legislation that enables residents to access the tools and information needed to repair their stuff — from phones and computers to farming equipment and construction machinery. 

These states join Massachusetts and New York in passing Right to Repair laws – and all these victories are building momentum for national change.

Not only have 29 other states introduced similar bills, but Apple, once a staunch opponent of Right to Repair laws, announced that it will comply with California’s new law nationwide. 

2. We called on corporations to use less plastic, and they’re starting to listen

This year, PIRG investigated just how much plastic companies like Whole Foods, Amazon and Costco are using, and where that plastic ends up. We found an overwhelming amount of plastic coming from single-use packaging, and the vast majority of it was entering landfills or polluting our communities and the environment. 

That’s why we rallied thousands of people to submit their signatures to Amazon headquarters calling on the company to eliminate plastic in its U.S. shipments, and to Costco, urging the grocery wholesaler to reduce its use of single-use plastic packaging. 

And together, we won! Supporters like you helped us raise such an outcry that both Amazon and Costco have now made commitments to reducing their single-use plastic packaging.

Amazon has committed to phasing out the blue-and-white plastic envelopes that so many of us are familiar with receiving our online orders in. Amazon’s agreement to phase out its padded plastic bags is a step in the right direction that will help online shoppers avoid a lot of waste.

Meanwhile, Costco announced they will release a 5-year plastic “action plan” that will outline the steps the company will take to reduce plastic in its Kirkland Signature Packaging. It will be some time before we see less packaging on Costco’s shelves – but the company’s agreement to tackle the problem is an important first step.

3. We continued getting toxic chemicals out of consumer products

PFAS, or toxic “forever chemicals,” are found in a range of everyday products, such as nonstick cookware and firefighting foam, despite being a major threat to public health. That’s why we’re urging the U.S. government and companies alike to stop using PFAS. 

With the support of people like you who prioritize our communities’ health and safety, PIRG helped convince the Pentagon to stop purchasing PFAS-laden firefighting foam, the outdoor retailer REI to eliminate PFAS in all of its products by 2026, the Environmental Protection Agency to propose limits to PFAS in drinking water, and expand the public’s right to know about PFAS.

With your support, the next victory could be just around the corner

This work is made possible entirely by people like you who see a problem and choose to take action. We don’t take a penny from corporations to fund our work, rather, we build a broad coalition of public support, and back it up with the research and advocacy needed to make real change.

As we look toward the new year, our team is excited to see what’s possible. We hope to have you right there with us in 2024.