Sustainability

Announcing #YouthEarthWeek Leadership Awards winners

We received more than 100 applications for leadership awards for events last week. Every one of them was a pleasure to read and clearly made an impact in their communities. Among them, these five youth-led efforts were exceptional in their success in building community, educating students, and motivating them to action.

Comprehensive Federal Legislation Addresses the Plastic Pollution Crisis

WASHINGTON—Today, Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Representative Alan Lowenthal (D-CA) reintroduced the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act, the most comprehensive bill to address the plastic pollution crisis ever introduced in Congress. The Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act of 2021 expands and improves upon an earlier version of the bill utilizing proven solutions to protect impacted communities, reform our broken recycling system, and shift the financial burden of waste management off of municipalities and taxpayers to where it belongs: the producers of plastic waste.

Statement: Gov. Northam announces executive order to phase out single use plastics in state government

RICHMOND, Va — Gov. Ralph Northam announced this morning Executive Order 77 which will eliminate the use of disposable plastic bags and single-use foodware at all state agencies within 120 days, and phase out the use of other single-use plastics in the state agencies and public universities by 2025. It also directs the Secretary to develop recommendations for reducing solid waste and diverting waste from landfills through composting, reuse, and other strategies. 

A Lifetime Polluted by Plastic

When I say the word “plastic” what immediately comes to your mind? Is it an image of the sea turtle and the straw? The bag you last used at a grocery store? A beach you know that’s coated in pollution?… Read more

Rollback the Rollbacks

Early actions the Biden administration can take to restore critical environmental protections In recent years, America’s environment has been at risk. Air pollution has been on the rise. Many of our bodies of water are at risk of pollution from… Read more

Student PIRGs urge Whole Foods: Put planet over plastic by eliminating plastic packaging

The Student PIRGs, Environment America Research & Policy Center, U.S. PIRG Education Fund, and other nonprofits launched a campaign alongside national partners on Tuesday calling on Whole Foods to change its practices on plastic packaging. The group’s decision comes after the supermarket chain received an “F” for its policies on single-use plastic packaging.

The University of California moves to scrap single-use plastics

OAKLAND — University of California campuses will start phasing-out single-use plastics, paving the way for campuses free of non-essential plastics by 2030, the UC Office of the President (UCOP) and CALPIRG Students announced jointly today. The new policy will transition UC away from plastic bags in retail and dining locations and eventually eliminate single-use plastic food service items and plastic bottles, helping to reduce the production of plastic pollution in California and prevent microplastics from contaminating waterways.  

Our Earth Day highlights reel

As we wrap up the spring semester on the east coast, I’m happy to share that this enthusiasm for action hasn’t waned. PIRG students across the country organized more than 50 local actions and events with more than 800 attendees for the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.