Collective community actions often outpace government commitments.
Whether you’re the head of a household or a multinational corporation, your actions do have environmental impact. You have more influence than you might know. With Earth Day 2023 approaching on April 22, it’s time to vote with your actions to protect the planet.
Did you know that individuals just like you are at the heart of every major planet-protecting initiative and policy?
Single-use plastic items like straws, plastic bags, polystyrene food containers, and more are progressively being banned in countries like Canada, England, Australia, and New Zealand. This global trend can be traced back to initiatives like Plastic Free July, founded by Rebecca Prince-Ruiz in a small Western Australia town in 2011. Now, the movement inspires more than 140 million people around the world to curb their plastic consumption and make lasting sustainable lifestyle changes.
In 2015, Japan adopted a United Nations proposal to cut food waste in half by 2030. But community leaders from the rural Japanese town of Kamikatsu say they’re more than 80 percent of the way towards implementing an entirely circular economy for their 1,500 residents. The Kamikatsu approach incorporates numerous waste-reduction tactics, including recycling across 45 separate waste categories, sharing usable items in a free thrift shop, and using food waste at the local brewery and cafe.
In the US, the state of California has enacted recycling reform. Senate Bill 343 aims to give consumers accurate on-pack information about what trash is accepted through curbside recycling programs. It’s anticipated this will enable more informed purchasing decisions and a reduction in recycling contamination, while encouraging manufacturers to use recycled materials and produce locally recyclable products and packaging. This legislation is expected to spark change throughout the country and beyond.
Positive change is accelerated when actions by individuals, communities, and lawmakers align. And you can be part of the progress!
It’s Earth Month, and your voice has impact! Let’s take action.
- Get in touch with your local lawmakers
Your local lawmakers are your voice in legislature. You have the right to contact them to discuss any issue affecting you and the community they represent.
It’s easy to give your lawmakers your two cents—just search for their contact details and call, email, or write a letter.
- Comment on proposed laws
In the US, when a federal agency needs to create a new law, it starts with a regulation proposal in the Federal Register, the “newspaper” of the US government. Under the Administrative Procedures Act of 1946, the agency must then request comments on that proposal from all members of the public. This is your time to give your input, which you can do through the website Regulations.gov. Keep an eye out for proposals related to waste and climate policies.
Canadian citizens can similarly comment on proposed regulations.
- Back petitions that hold industries and governments accountable
There are a host of reputable environmental groups on local, national, and global scales that are actively working to protect our planet. By signing your name to petitions created by these groups, your voice can be heard to enact positive change.
You can also start your own petition. By law, citizens have the right to petition in US and Canada. Canadian citizens can submit petitions online. In the US, you’ll need to contact a representative or senator.
- Support charities that clean up the planet
Do good for the Earth by supporting non-profits that are already leading the charge. There are charities around the world that run waste education platforms, operate ongoing ocean and land clean-ups, and help businesses and communities make sustainable changes. You can support their efforts through donations or on the front lines as a volunteer.
You can also fund this kind of work simply by recycling with TerraCycle. When you send us trash through many of our free recycling programs, you earn TerraCycle points that are redeemable as charitable donations. So, put your points behind groups that remove waste from the environment, like the TerraCycle Global Foundation.
- Vote with your dollar
With great spending power comes great responsibility. Whether you’re investing in a new car or doing your weekly grocery run, the purchases you make impact the planet. You can vote for a better future with what you buy and don’t buy. Consider how you can reduce your consumption by buying less and reusing whenever you can. Strengthen the circular economy by recycling what you can curbside, and keep hard-to-recycle items out of landfills and from incineration through TerraCycle’s free recycling programs and Zero Waste Boxes.
- Demand action from your favorite brands
If your go-to skincare or coffee brand doesn’t have an end-of-life solution for their products or packaging, let them know it’s something you care about! Brands aren’t obligated to offer recycling or reuse programs for their products and packaging, but giving feedback on this can help launch or scale solutions.
You could suggest that brands make their products curbside recyclable, or that they sponsor a free recycling program through TerraCycle for their hard-to-recycle waste. Incorporating recycled materials into products and packaging is another great opportunity for brands looking to minimize their impact on the planet. For many products, a reuse packaging model like Loop can help brands cut even more waste out of their operations.
Taking any of these actions can bolster positive environmental change at a more powerful collective level. It’s just like recycling: We see the benefits soar when more individuals and groups work to make a difference. So, vote for the planet with your wallet, your time, your vote, and your recycling habits on Earth Day and every day.