Together we can tackle the plastic waste crisis

For decades, we’ve proven that problems from plastic waste to toxic pollution can be solved if we raise our voices, together, for tangible change.

Beyond plastic

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Plastic waste pollutes our environment.

At PIRG, we focus on problems that affect everybody: our country’s plastic waste crisis, for example, or toxic pollution in our air and water that puts our communities at risk.

However imposing these problems may seem at first, for decades we’ve proven that concrete steps forward add up to big change. With supporters like you standing beside us, what kind of positive change can we create in the year ahead?

Making progress on single use plastics

Here’s one of my favorite examples of the power of organizing: 1 in every 3 Americans now lives in a state with a robust ban on at least one type of single-use plastic.

That’s the direct result of years spent building grassroots momentum to curb litter, pollution and waste from plastic bags, plastic foam containers, and other wasteful single-use items we can all live without.

There’s no denying the problem of plastic waste is a daunting one — our country alone throws out enough plastic every 16 hours to fill the Dallas Cowboys football stadium.

PIRG and our supporters have never let a big problem discourage us from thinking we can still make a difference. Quite the opposite: With the support of people like you, our advocates have the resources they need to double down on the strategies we know will help us tackle the problem one piece at a time. When people come together chipping in portions of their time, money and most importantly their voices in support of concrete solutions, many of the problems we tackle don’t seem so insurmountable anymore.

Now is the perfect time for you to add your support. In addition to powering the grassroots organizing that any movement needs to be able to win, your support also allows us to get in the room with decision-makers and make our case for change directly.

 

Making polluters pay

How does your support power the progress we need. Here’s another example. Throughout the nearly three decades since Congress let the crucial “polluter pays” toxic waste cleanup program lapse, PIRG staff have been urging federal lawmakers to reinstate it.

One in 5 Americans live within three miles of a toxic waste site so hazardous that it’s been tagged for cleanup under the federal Superfund program. And we know that for these sites to get cleaned up quickly and effectively, the polluters themselves (rather than the taxpayers) should be made to pay for it. But for years, inaction and gridlock in Congress made progress elusive.

Then, in the fall of 2021 and again this past summer, we jumped into action to push for the inclusion of polluter pays taxes in two landmark pieces of federal legislation. And we won: With this crucial funding reinstated, Americans can look forward to a future where toxic polluters are held responsible for cleaning up their mess before it harms our health.

And we’re not stopping there. We’re urging the Environmental Protection Agency to prioritize the Superfund program and to take into account the growing threat of flooding and other global warming-fueled disasters when designing cleanup plans.

We’re also still hard at work defending consumers in the financial marketplace, winning stronger protections against toxic or hazardous products, making health care work better for all Americans, and much more.

 

WISPIRG

Help support our work.

We speak out for a healthier, safer world in which we’re freer to pursue our own individual well-being and the common good. We’re working to find common ground around commonsense ideas — but we need your support to keep our work going strong.

As threats to the public interest grow, your support can make all the difference. Every contribution powers important research and fuels impactful advocacy.

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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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