Zero Waste Campaign Director

Boston or Amherst, MA; Chicago, IL; Denver, CO; Philadelphia, PA

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PIRG is an advocate for the public interest. We speak out for a healthier, safer world in which we’re freer to pursue our own individual well-being and the common good. The PIRG Zero Waste team is seeking a campaign director to lead our Beyond Plastic campaign.

Nothing we use for a few minutes should threaten our health and pollute our future for hundreds of years.

Every day, people throw away tons of plastic “stuff” — cups, plates, bags, containers, forks, knives, straws, spoons and more. All of this waste not only clogs our landfills, trashes our parks, and litters our streets, but it also washes into our rivers and oceans, where it can harm wildlife. It’s time to move beyond single-use plastic, by getting rid of the most harmful waste, and stopping the use of things we truly don’t need.

Moving beyond plastic is also critical to addressing climate change. The plastic industry emits an enormous amount of greenhouse gas emissions: between manufacturing, use, and disposal, the U.S. plastics industry was responsible for at least 232 million tons of CO2e gas emissions in 2020, equivalent to the average emissions from 116 average-sized coal-fired power plants. Soon, plastics production may even surpass emissions from coal.

PIRG is calling on our decision makers to lead us toward a zero waste future by passing statewide bans on polystyrene takeout containers and single-use plastic bags.

Representative Responsibilities

  • Coalition building: Build support around our mission in key constituencies at the campus, state and national level, including the Break Free From Plastic coalition.
  • Advocacy: Take our policies directly to key decision-makers in campus leadership, the statehouse, in Congress or wherever important decisions are being made. Run multiple lobby days for students and staff.
  • Media Outreach: Serve as the spokesperson for our campaigns through media events, press releases and opinion writing. Keep abreast of important zero waste issues, raise the profile of zero waste issues in the media.
  • Campaign strategy: Assess opportunities for building political support for our agenda through coalition-building, grassroots organizing, media coverage and message development.
  • Program development: Evaluate the research on the issue, create viable policy solutions and propose the right political strategy and messaging.
  • Fundraising: Write grant proposals, build relationships with foundation staff and meet with major donors.
  • Staff recruitment and development: Recruit new staff and volunteers. Oversee other program staff to develop and implement work plans; provide training and leadership development opportunities.

This position requires exercising discretion and independent judgment in making decisions in matters of significance.


Candidates must have at least 3 years of relevant professional experience. Qualified candidates will have a demonstrated commitment to citizen-based social change, as well as a track record of leadership, excellent judgment, discretion and significant project oversight. Experience working on waste, environmental or climate campaigns preferred.

We’re looking for people who are goal-driven and results-oriented, who have excellent verbal, written and analytical skills, the ability to speak persuasively in a charged atmosphere, and driven to make positive policy change.

Compensation & Benefits

The target annual compensation for this position is $36,000-$60,000 and is commensurate with the relevant professional experience and/or advanced degrees. Candidates on the low end of directly relevant experience should expect to be on the lower end of this range; candidates on the higher end of relevant experience are likely to be on the higher end of this range. PIRG offers a competitive benefits package including medical, dental, and vision insurance for employees and dependents, our commuter benefit program, 401(k) with employer match, paid time off and long-term disability insurance. Compensation and benefits may vary based on location and experience. We also offer an excellent training program and opportunities for advancement.

Things to know when you apply

PIRG is part of The Public Interest Network, which operates and supports organizations committed to a shared vision of a better world and a strategic approach to social change. Click here for things you should know about our network when you apply.

PIRG is an equal opportunity employer.

COVID-19: We take COVID-19 safety very seriously. Employees must follow our COVID safety protocols and be fully vaccinated and boostered. Accommodations are provided to the extent required by law.