Maryland PIRG Director Emily Scarr speaks at an Earth Day event in 2019 urging Gov. Hogan to ban single-use plastics. Maryland successfully passed the ban in Oct. 2020. Photo: Lake Stein.

Our Impact

The impact of people power

Together with our campaign groups Environment America and PIRG, Fund for the Public Interest has a proven track record of success. Here are just two examples of the countless results we've helped win:

Environment America and the Fund: Putting wildlife over waste

Every day, people throw away tons of single-use plastic items such as cups, containers, bags and more. These plastic items never fully degrade. That’s why Environment America took action to convince states to ban the worst forms of plastic waste — because nothing we use for a few minutes should be allowed to pollute our rivers and oceans and threaten wildlife for centuries.

Environment America called on the Fund to go door to door to build the support needed to protect our planet from plastic waste. We held thousands of conversations with people across the country, and they joined us in calling on state leaders to support banning the worst forms of single-use plastics, such as polystyrene foam cups and containers.

Our hard work is starting to pay off. In the summer of 2019, Maine and Maryland became the first states in the nation to enact statewide bans on polystyrene foam containers. Then, in November 2020, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed the then-strongest single-use plastics ban in the nation into law. In 2020, we delivered more than 50,000 petitions from Virginians to the state Legislature, which was a tipping point in their statewide ban on foam cups and takeout containers passing, which takes effect in 2023. And our organizing over the past several years has helped convince California, Colorado, Oregon, Maine, New York, Washington, Virginia, Vermont and Connecticut to ban single-use plastic grocery bags.

Check out this video highlighting our work from our most recent summer canvass.


PIRG and the Fund: Stopping the overuse of antibiotics

We rely on antibiotics to treat infections, but misuse and overuse of these life-saving medicines is breeding antibiotic-resistant "superbugs" — which experts estimate may kill up to 162,000 people every year and make millions more sick. The biggest offender? Factory farms that use antibiotics on livestock and poultry. So, PIRG is calling on the restaurants that buy from factory farms to stop serving meat raised on routine antibiotics.

The Fund has been integral in helping PIRG build public support around this campaign, which has led to important progress. In early 2015, we helped convince McDonald’s to stop serving chicken raised on routine antibiotics. Then Subway and KFC also made commitments. In the summer of 2018, we focused our efforts on rallying people to call on McDonald’s to make a commitment to phase out antibiotics from its entire supply chain — including its beef supply. On Dec. 11, 2018, after we talked to more than 500,000 people and gathered more than 100,000 signatures, McDonald’s announced that it would monitor the use of medically important antibiotics in its beef supply chain and agreed to set reduction targets by the end of 2020. But as of late 2021, McDonald’s had announced no such targets — so now we’re mobilizing to keep the spotlight on the fast food giant and make sure it keeps its promise to help save our antibiotics.

"The canvassers going to the doors to talk to interested residents is really something that makes a huge difference on the legislative process."

– Pennsylvania State Representative Tim Briggs

Apply For
A Summer Job