Earth911 has a new look. We’re excited to share it with you. After receiving several hundred responses to our recent surveys, we’ve rolled out the next stage in our mission to help you lighten your environmental footprint and recycle more of what you currently throw out.

In responses to our surveys, readers like you asked for more help with practical decision-making about recycling and living sustainably. Society is just taking the first steps to mainstream sustainable practices and products — we’re all starting a journey that will transform human life. Our goal is to help you build the sustainable, surprising net-zero world that our children’s children will inhabit. It will be as unrecognizable to us as our world would be if our great-grandparents could see it, cleaner, healthier, more just and in harmony with the planetary ecosystem in which humans live.

It’s all about making better, informed choices

Every decision we make about how we eat, heat and power our homes, get ourselves from place to place, and conduct our lives involves trade-offs. That’s why Earth911 will deliver more product reviews to help you choose the positive impacts that matter to you and the planet. In 2021, we’re adding guidance about choosing more sustainable options to help you reduce wasteful consumption and to plan for reuse and recycling. Conscious shopping can reduce our waste and that leads to a lighter environmental footprint.

It’s also time to think across more dimensions of sustainability when making decisions. Many products are made more sustainably, support healthy agricultural practices or use substantially less energy in production or daily use, but still use plastic packaging. For example, we can all make choices that reduce the carbon footprint of our diets — switching to plant-based meals is the most effective way to lighten your environmental impact — yet many vegan meals still arrive at our homes in plastic packaging.

We believe citizens can support those sustainability advances  and encourage the makers to use biodegradable alternatives to plastic, eliminate CO2 emissions, and reduce the extraction of raw materials from the earth. If we don’t encourage positive steps, the unsustainable alternatives will win out.

Choosing progress

Transparency, accountability and innovation are essential to inventing our way out of the fossil fuels era. The marketplace is where most of us earn our livings and exchange the value of our specialized skills for the staples and luxuries of life. We’re not arguing for fossil-fueled capitalism but for recognition that an informed, transparent system of commerce is essential to a complex sustainable society.

We believe that the next, green phase of human society must be a step forward and not a retreat to the past, so we will focus on increasing transparency about environmental impacts of new products and services in our shopping review articles.

Every product should come with recycling instructions

Recycling isn’t easy in the U.S. We lack national standards. What can be recycled in one region may not be accepted in another, and the rules for preparing materials vary. For almost 30 years, Earth911 has helped connect you to what you need to know to successfully recycle products and packaging, and we’ll continue to expand our local recycling database to help. But the first steps toward a circular economy start with what you purchase and why.  Our new product guides will include not just the sustainability information related to the product, but also the steps to recycle whatever we recommend.

We will not review any products that do not provide a substantial improvement over traditional options, and we’ll add the recycling instructions the manufacturer don’t provide.

Of course, we will continue to deliver inspirational quotes and posters, quizzes to help you build your sustainability skills, and new podcasts with innovators, authors, and others who are contributing to creating the next generation of sustainability thinking and practice. The Earth911 team includes more than a dozen people who work to identify recycling solutions and products or services that are better than those embedded in the old ways of thinking. We’re just getting started. We’d also love to hear your thoughts and article suggestions, or if you have a product we should consider, please send me email to

By Mitch Ratcliffe

Mitch is the publisher at and Director of Digital Strategy and Innovation at Intentional Futures, an insight-to-impact consultancy in Seattle. A veteran tech journalist, Mitch is passionate about helping people understand sustainability and the impact of their decisions on the planet.