Environmental Action Series: Letter to your Legislator

During this week's action, we will talk about writing to your legislator. Handwritten letters can be effective because they are personal, and are read often by legislators.

Image of mountains with text that reads: 2021 General Assembly, Environmental Action Series

Everyday people throw away tons of single-use cups, containers and other plastic “stuff.” Among the worst forms of plastic pollution is polystyrene foam (the stuff most of us call Styrofoam), which never fully degrades. Polystyrene foam breaks apart easily, but it persists in the environment in tiny particles—and every bit of it ever made is still out there and could continue to threaten wildlife for hundreds of years to come.

 Join us in taking action by sending a letter in support of HB 1902 to your state senator! 

Handwritten letters can be effective because they are personal, and are read often by legislators. The goal here, beyond asking a legislator to support HB 1902, should be to include a personal story or anecdote to give some context. Maybe you grew up near the ocean or a river that you loved, or traveled to a beautiful natural area that has really stayed with you. Maybe you connect with a particular animal species affected by plastic pollution or you’re just tired of seeing plastic everywhere! Whatever personal connection you may have, embrace it and use it to help communicate your appeal! Just remember, in this case, to ask your state senator to support the ban on polystyrene foam.

For each letter to your legislator, you will need:

  • 1 piece of paper
  • 1 envelope
  • 1 stamp
  • Your legislator’s address: find that here

How to write a good letter to your legislator:

1. Write your letter

  • You can edit the template included below to your liking
  • Everything highlighted needs to be personalized
  • Make it your own! Getting personal will build a connection with your legislator, and helps your letter stick out
  • Of course feel free to write your own from scratch!

2. Address your letter and envelope with your State Senator’s name and address
3. Put a stamp on it
4. Check here for a US Postal Service location near you
5. Drop it in a mailbox

Letter Template:

Dear Senator [NAME],

I’m writing to you to address my support of Virginia’s efforts to issue a statewide ban on plastic foam containers. Our plastic waste is killing our wildlife–the result of an economy that encourages us to buy, use, and toss so many of the items we consume. [Insert some statements that address the problem, that mean the MOST to you:

  • I love the Chesapeake Bay and our local waterways. Protecting the coast and ocean is very important to me because….

  • People throw away millions of pieces of plastic every day.

  • Plastic pollution kills seabirds and marine animals, like sea turtles. 

  • Plastics can easily break down into smaller pieces of plastics, called microplastics. But they never really biodegrade.

By nature, plastic doesn’t biodegrade, which means that virtually every plastic bag, straw, utensil, wrapper, and foam cup that has ever escaped into the environment is still out there. 

To reduce the amount of plastic waste that ends up in our oceans, environment, and landfills, we need to dramatically reduce the amount of single-use foam products handed to consumers every day.

Over 200 cities and municipalities have already enacted local bans on polystyrene containers, mostly in the last decade, which is great! We need to capture that momentum through a statewide ban of polystyrene containers here in Virginia.

As your constituent, I ask you to please join me in supporting HB 1902.  




After you send your letter to your state senator, email our Campaign Associate, Brenna, at [email protected] so we can track our impact! We look forward to taking action together at the Wildlife Over Waste Letters to our Legislators Event. Let’s get this bill over the finish line.


Elly Boehmer

State Director, Environment Virginia

A former canvass director and organizer with Impact, Elly now directs Environment Virginia's efforts to promote clean air, clean water and open spaces in Virginia. Elly lives in Richmond, Virginia, where she enjoys gardening, photography, hiking and rollerblading with her dog.