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.

CoPIRG Foundation 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

Report | CoPIRG Foundation and Eco-Cycle | Solid Waste

State of Recycling and Composting in Colorado 2020

Colorado wasted more and recycled less in 2019 than in 2018, continuing to fall short of our state recycling goals and behind the rest of the nation. Despite the downward trend, there are dozens of Colorado communities continuing to demonstrate how recycling and composting can be successful in Colorado.

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Report | CoPIRG Foundation | COVID-19

Nursing Home Safety During COVID: PPE Shortages

Thousands of nursing homes nationwide are dealing with horrific shortages of masks, gowns and other items they need to protect residents, workers and the broader community from COVID-19. And seven months into this pandemic, the shortages have actually become much worse.

At any given time, about 1.3 million people with long-term medical issues or short-term rehabilitation needs are residing in the nation’s 15,000 nursing homes. And too many of them are at risk, according to an analysis of government data by the CoPIRG Foundation and Frontier Group.

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Blog Post | Consumer Tips, COVID-19

Planning to vote in person? Consider taking a bag of supplies to help you survive long lines | Teresa Murray

With Election Day coming up, here's a tip guide for what to do before you go to vote, what to take with you and how to stay safe while you’re at your polling place.

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News Release | CoPIRG | COVID-19

Triple testing, temporarily close bars and indoor dining, and limit travel to combat COVID

As COVID cases surge and freezing weather approaches, CoPIRG is calling on Colorado to take necessary actions to blunt the spread of the virus. CoPIRG applauds Governor Polis for extending a mask mandate but more aggressive action is needed, including temporarily closing indoor dining and bars, tripling the amount of testing and limiting travel. 

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News Release | CoPIRG | COVID-19

“Home Safe for the Holidays” campaign calls for COVID testing to triple in Colorado

At the time of year that many Americans usually start making holiday travel plans, the consumer advocacy group, CoPIRG, is launching the “Home for the Holidays” campaign. The campaign calls on Governor Polis to triple the amount of testing happening to ensure Colorado reaches the testing levels needed to suppress the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) so that people can gather more safely over the upcoming holidays. 

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News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Public Health

Target Removes Lead-Laden Fidget Spinners from Store Shelves

Today, Target announced that it will be removing two fidget spinner models that contain well over the legal limit of lead for children’s toys from its store shelves. Target had initially balked at our request to do so, citing a Consumer Product Safety Commission rule stating that general use products directed at adults don’t need to follow the same lead guidelines as children’s products directed at children 12 and under. These two models of fidget spinners, the Fidget Wild Premium Spinner Brass and the Fidget Wild Premium Spinner Metal, were labeled for ages 14 and up.

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

Target Removes Lead-Laden Fidget Spinner From Website, But Still Available For Sale In-Store

Since late yesterday afternoon, Target appears to have made the 33,000 ppm-lead containing Fidget Wild Premium Spinner Brass unavailable for sale on its website. U.S. PIRG Education Fund staff went to a Target store today and found the Fidget Wild Premium Spinner Brass was still available for sale in-store, despite the website saying it was unavailable there. Also yesterday, one of the CPSC’s Commissioners, Elliot F. Kaye, re-stated his opposition to the CPSC’s guidance and the acting chairman's statement when he tweeted, “Seems obvious fidget spinners are toys and should comply with all applicable federal safety standards.”

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News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Public Health

High Levels of Lead Found in Fidget Spinners

U.S. PIRG Education Fund found fidget spinners with high levels of lead for sale at Target stores across the country. Parents and consumers need to know about these lead-laden toys, especially because we alerted Target and the toy’s distributor, Bulls i Toy, to our findings, but they refused to address the problem. The toxic fidget spinners are still available both in toy aisles at Target stores and on its website. Incredibly, Target and Bulls i Toy defend their inaction by pointing to the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) declaration that fidget spinners are NOT technically “children’s products” subject to legal limits for lead.

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News Release | CoPIRG Foundation | Solid Waste

Don’t Toss Your Pumpkins and Leaves, Compost Them

Recycling advocates have a message to residents who are dutifully raking and bagging up their leaves – don’t toss them in a trash bin, compost them. That goes for Jack-O’-Lantern’s too. At an event at Denver’s Recycling and Compost drop off site, they highlighted that organic items like leaves and pumpkins make up roughly 50% of residential waste that can be composted either by bringing them to a drop off site or by signing up for the city’s residential compost program and putting them in your own curbside green cart.  

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News Release | Consumer Protection

U.S. PIRG CONSUMER ADVOCATE MIKE LITT TESTIFIES AT CONGRESSIONAL HEARING ON EQUIFAX

Our Consumer Advocate, Mike Litt, was invited by Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Ranking Member of the House Financial Services Committee, to testify this week at a Congressional hearing on the Equifax data breach. This was a continuation of the committee's previously held hearing on October 5th entitled "Examining the Equifax Data Breach."

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News Release | CoPIRG Foundation

Even though legitimate toymakers deserve kudos for making many of their products safer over the years, too often, Americans end up buying dangerous toys for children for the holidays. CoPIRG Foundation’s 36th annual Trouble in Toyland report shows that many of those toys are counterfeit or recalled products, but still make their way into consumers’ shopping carts.

News Release | CoPIRG Foundation

The holiday season often entails spending a lot of hours in the kitchen cooking. As millions of Americans prepare holiday meals to share with their families, a new guide from CoPIRG Foundation offers tips on how to minimize unhealthy air pollution from cooking with gas in your home. Without proper precautions, too much exposure to a gas stove can lead to an unnecessary and invisible health risk, since gas stoves can cause elevated levels of indoor pollution that would exceed legal limits for outdoor air. 

News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

More than 125 medical professionals organized by the U.S. PIRG Education Fund sent a letter to McDonald’s Thursday urging the company to meet its 2018 commitment to reduce antibiotic use in its beef supply chain. The coalition delivered the letter at the start of World Antibiotic Awareness Week to stress the urgency of taking action to stop overusing our life-saving medicines in agriculture. Otherwise, the drugs may no longer heal sick people. 

News Release

Apple reversed its longstanding policy against selling spare parts, providing repair instructions, and making repair software tools available to customers.

News Release | CoPIRG and Eco-Cycle

In their fifth annual State of Recycling & Composting in Colorado Report, Eco-Cycle and CoPIRG found Colorado’s 2020 waste diversion rate of 15.3% has failed to improve over the last few years and remains well below the national average of 32% and the over 50% rate that leading Colorado cities currently achieve. In 2020, Coloradans buried over 5.9 million tons of materials in the state’s landfills that could have been reintroduced into our economy as materials for manufacturing and as compost to rebuild our soils.

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