Sustainable Cities

It is estimated that by 2050, more than 70 percent of the world's population will be living in a city. It's time for America's largest cities to adopt a sustainable and responsible vision for the future. 

Building the Cities of Tomorrow

Imagine cities that are healthy places to live, where our resources are used responsibly, where the environment is protected, and where citizens are actively engaged in their communities.

U.S. PIRG Education Fund is working to build these cities of tomorrow.

It's estimated that by 2050, more than 70 percent of the world’s population is estimated to be living in a city. More and more Americans are looking to cities to meet their needs in a way that’s sustainable, equitable and beneficial to the world. As more of us live and work in urban areas, we have the opportunity to make them leaders in sustainable development.

We envision cities:

  • With 21st century transportation options. For decades, cities have focused on moving cars, not people. It’s time to focus on getting people where they need to go by giving them more and better options to get around. These options include expanded public transit, better biking alternatives, walkable neighborhoods and high-performance intercity trains.
  • Powered by 100% clean and renewable energy. As the threat of climate change continues to grow, the best way to fight it is to keep fossil fuels in the ground and transition to 100% renewable energy. By encouraging big box stores to switch to solar power, promoting residential solar options, increasing the number of charging stations for electric vehicles, and raising energy efficiency standards for commercial and residential buildings we can easily meet this goal.
  • Where food systems are healthy, sustainable and locally-sourced. We all eat. But the choices we make with our food can help or hurt our communities and our environment. By sourcing food that is raised sustainably, responsibly and low in carbon, we can boost our local economies, move away from factory farming, and create healthier communities.
  • With clean water and responsible waste management. Communities across the country face risks from polluted water systems and waste. Aging pipes, sewage overflows and toxins that travel from roads to our water supply can harm our health and the environment. We need policymakers to make sure everyone has access to healthy water by creating strong policies to repair aging infrastructure and addressing toxins in our water supply. We can also make sure our waste is disposed of responsibly and reduce our waste whenever possible. 
  • Where citizens are involved in their government and their community. When we are active and engaged in our communities, we can push for more sustainable policies and hold elected leaders accountable. To ensure all citizens have the opportunity to participate in their community, cities should make voting as easy as possible, champion open access to government data and level the playing field for small donors.  

 

Issue updates

News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Consumer Tips

Statement: Safe Sleep Act passes Senate, goes to President Biden

The law will designate inclined sleepers and crib bumpers as hazardous and ban them under the Consumer Product Safety Act.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund and NRDC

Consumer advocacy groups launch campaign to get Columbia Sportswear to phase out toxic ‘forever chemicals’

 

U.S. PIRG Education Fund and NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) launched a campaign on Tuesday calling on outdoor gear and apparel brand Columbia Sportswear to phase out the use of PFAS in its products and supply chains. Last month, the company received low marks in a scorecard report released by the advocacy groups. The report found that Columbia Sportswear has failed to adopt policies that ban PFAS chemicals or provide up-to-date, publicly available information on any ongoing efforts to phase out these toxic chemicals from their products.

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Blog Post

Campaign for Columbia Sportswear Commitment to Eliminate PFAS Launched Today | Emily Rogers

Today U.S. PIRG Education Fund and NRDC launched a campaign to urge Columbia Sportswear to eliminate toxic PFAS in their products and supply chain by 2024. The campaign will engage everyday consumers through a petition drive and mobilize the public impacted by PFAS contamination.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

New report: Several major cities have banned abusive towing practices in the last year

Parkers have always run the risk of getting towed. But a new trend exacerbates that risk: Towing companies are giving private property owners kickbacks when the landowner notifies the companies about vehicles to tow -- whether the vehicle is defying parking regulations or not.

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Blog Post | Consumer Tips

How to save money at the grocery store, despite food price inflation | Danielle Melgar

Here’s what you can do to ensure that rising food prices don’t break your bank.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Antibiotics

STATEMENT: Board nominee urges McDonald’s to uphold unfulfilled commitment to reduce antibiotic use in beef supply chain

In an article published Friday, Reuters reported that Leslie Samuelrich, who Carl Icahn recently nominated to McDonald’s board of directors, ‘is concerned McDonald’s has not followed through’ on its 2018 commitment to establish targets for reducing the use of medically important antibiotics in its beef supply chain. 

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News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

Burger King commits to eliminating toxic “forever chemicals” in food packaging globally

Restaurant Brands International (RBI), parent company of Burger King, Tim Hortons and Popeyes, announced Wednesday evening a new global commitment to eliminate per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in food packaging used in its restaurants by 2025.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

New report outlines how electric school buses could speed transition to clean electric grid

As early as next month, billions of new federal dollars will start to become available for school districts across the country to transition to clean, electric school buses. Today, most of the nation’s nearly half a million school buses run on diesel fuel, producing harmful emissions that children are forced to breathe. With the support of the World Resources Institute’s Electric School Bus Initiative, U.S. PIRG Education Fund, Environment America Research & Policy Center and Frontier Group are releasing a new report examining how the transition to electric school buses, in addition to keeping diesel exhaust out of developing lungs, could help speed up the expansion of clean energy by providing a critical source of reliable battery storage. 

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News Release | U.S. PIRG | Consumer Tips

Release: As bills from 2022 medical care arrive in mailboxes, patients should know their rights

 Patients who received medical care in January and February are starting to receive their medical bills for those services. That’s why, in recognition of National Consumer Protection Week, it’s timely to remind people to check their bills carefully and make sure they know their new legal protections against surprise billing.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

The hidden costs of ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’

U.S. PIRG Education Fund reviewed data from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and found that the most common complaints about “Buy Now, Pay Later” plans include hidden fees, high interest rates and problems when it comes time for debt collection.

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Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

Product Recalls: Often Too Little Too Late

2021 reminds us the system is broken. Federal laws favor corporations, not consumers, and it can take months or years for the public to be warned about dangerous products.

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Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Progress Report: President Biden’s First Year

Following years of rollbacks, President Joe Biden began his term nearly a year ago amidst unprecedented environmental and public health challenges. Despite these obstacles, his administration has made significant strides toward restoring lost environmental protections and confronting daunting threats to our climate and public health, according to a new report by Environment America Research & Policy Center and U.S. PIRG Education Fund. 

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Report | U.S. PIRG

Surprise Medical Bill Protections - Patient Tips Guide

 

U.S. PIRG created this patient tips guide to help patients understand their rights under the No Surprises Act. Insured Americans can read or download this handy reference guide to learn and use their new rights going into effect on January 1, 2022. The tips explain which bills are illegal and what to do if you get one. It also includes the phone number for a Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) hotline that will be up and running on Jan. 1 to answer patients’ questions and take complaints about doctors and hospitals who might be on the wrong side of the law. 

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Report | PIRG Education Fund & Environment America Research and Policy Center

Funding the Future of Superfund

The Superfund toxic waste cleanup program is in charge of cleaning up America's most dangerous toxic waste sites. But for years, it's been underfunded, which has slowed down cleanup and put more people at risk of exposure to hazardous waste. The Funding the Future of Superfund: Addressing decades of slowing toxic waste cleanup report addresses the progress of the Superfund program in 2021 and what new funding from the reinstated "polluter pays" tax will mean for the future of Superfund toxic waste cleanup.

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Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

Not First Class: Flyer complaints soar as airlines cancel flights, deny refunds, ruin plans

When the COVID-19 pandemic turned life upside down in early 2020 and commercial flights came to a near-halt, the U.S. government gave the airline industry $50 billion to save jobs and keep the industry afloat. Since then, despite surviving because of their customers’ tax dollars, the airlines repeatedly have canceled and delayed flights, denied refunds and failed at customer service, according to complaints filed with the U.S. Department of Transportation.

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Blog Post | Consumer Tips, Food, Solid Waste

How to Save Food and Prevent Waste | Danielle Melgar

We all play a role in creating food waste, so we can all be part of the solution.

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Blog Post

Big Pharma claims clinical trial costs are the reason for sky-high drug prices without any proof | Patricia Kelmar

Greater transparency of clinical trial costs will quantify the amount of public taxpayer dollars invested in new drug innovation. One main reason drug companies say drug prices are so high is because of the high cost of innovation. But who's really footing the bill of drug research in the U.S.?

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Blog Post | Consumer Tips

Tips to protect yourself against cyberattacks from Russia (or anywhere else) | Teresa Murray

The new threat of cyberattacks may have you wondering what you can do to protect yourself. It’s a great time to remind you about best practices you should already be following.

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Blog Post

Change in the air: a hope of normalcy and less violence on airplanes | Jacob van Cleef

Violence has become such a problem that a federal no-fly list has been proposed, so unruly passengers could no longer fly.

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Pages

News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

People and companies who own some 2021 Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator SUVs should park outside, away from homes and other structures, according to a warning released Thursday by the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA). Lincoln is Ford’s luxury brand.

News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

As a growing number of studies have shed new light on the health and environmental harms of gas stoves, U.S. PIRG Education Fund and Environment America Research & Policy Center are releasing a new consumer guide that provides information on how to protect American families and the environment by switching to induction cooking.

News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

After decades of danger and more than 200 infant deaths, President Joe Biden signed the  Safe Sleep for Babies Act into law on Monday.

Solid Waste

PIRG hosts webinar with MythBusters' Adam Savage on Right to Repair

Our national network and the Right to Repair team organized a summit featuring keynote speaker Adam Savage from MythBusters. He shared his thoughts with us on the movement and we discussed our current progress on the Right to Repair campaign.

 

Solid Waste

New federal bill calls for U.S. to move beyond plastic

On Feb. 11, U.S. Sen. Tom Udall and U.S. Rep. Alan Lowenthal introduced legislation that would phase out unnecessary single-use plastics, which commonly end up clogging our landfills and polluting our environment. It also provides funding for recycling and composting infrastructure, and would shift the financial burden of managing waste and recyclables from town and city governments to the manufacturers.

 
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