As an individual, you have more power to enact change than you might know. Whether you’re voting in an election or voting with your dollar, your actions can make a difference.
While the eco-friendly changes you make in your daily life are important, you can amplify your impact by encouraging your favorite companies or brands and your local or regional policymakers to adopt initiatives and policies that reduce waste. For instance, you could ask your favorite brand to make their packaging recyclable or ask your local representative to vote against or in favor of a certain bill. It all starts with a letter or email.
There are a few things to keep in mind when writing to changemakers and legislators. Be as specific and personal as possible. Provide examples of what you want them to do. Try including a personal story or experience about why this cause impacts or is important to you.
If you aren’t sure exactly what to contact your changemakers about or don’t have any specific examples, try these general letters or email templates as a place to start:
Template for reaching out to brands/companies:
Hello [insert name],
I’ve been using your products for [amount of time], and I don’t feel good about the amount of waste your products’ packaging produces. Every time I throw away the packaging of your product, I’m reminded that you have the opportunity to make it more sustainable.
The world’s waste is having dire effects on the environment, animals, and people themselves. Increasingly massive landfills are driving people in Indonesia from their homes, nearly 700 species, including endangered ones, are known to have been affected by plastics, and by 2050, the world is expected to generate 3.40 billion tons of waste annually, increasing drastically from today’s 2.01 billion tons.
As a [brand/manufacturer/company], you are responsible for the products and packaging you put on the market. Many consumers, like me, are switching their buying habits to make sure we’re purchasing from sustainably-minded brands. That includes only buying products with an end-of-life plan (local recycling, private recycling through TerraCycle, or reusability).
Reducing waste is essential to the health and future of the planet, and I’m not the only one who thinks so. Seventy-eight percent of US consumers say a sustainable lifestyle is important to them, and making your products less wasteful will greatly appeal to that percentage of consumers.
I’d love to know about any sustainability initiatives that are currently in place or planned, and I ask you to consider taking even more action. Extended producer responsibility (EPR) schemes, reuse bills, and other legislation is coming. You can win market share against competitors and get ahead of these laws by acting now.
Thank you,[Your name]
Template for reaching out to legislators:
Hello [insert title and name],
My name is [your name], and I am a constituent in [insert your state, city, or town]. I’m writing to urge you to take action for the health and future of our planet.
I am asking you to [vote in favor of a specific bill/introduce legislation] designed to reduce waste.
Currently, we are using the equivalent of 1.6 Earths to maintain our current way of life. Our environment cannot keep up with our demands. Our current way of living is not sustainable and will have dire consequences. Increasingly massive landfills are driving people in Indonesia from their homes, nearly 700 species, including endangered ones, are known to have been affected by plastics, and by 2050, the world is expected to generate 3.40 billion tons of waste annually, increasing drastically from today’s 2.01 billion tons.
I know you took your role as a [representative/senator/governor] to fight for the well-being of my community, and that starts with protecting the environment.
Thank you,[your name]
If you want to reach out to your local representatives but don’t know who they are, you can find them here.
Enacting change requires people like you to speak up. Changemakers aren’t the only ones who have the power to help the planet. You do too. Don’t forget that even when we all make small changes—like recycling whatever you can, buying less, and reusing what you can—it adds up to a big difference.