Will Georgia become the next state to ban plastic bags?

Georgia lawmakers are considering a bill this legislative session (SB 49) that would ban plastic bags at grocery stores.

It’s still up in the air whether it will move forward in legislation. However, environmental advocacy groups like Keep Golden Isles Beautiful believe the ban would limit the amount of litter left on beaches and streets.

Keep Golden Isles Beautiful is a local affiliate with the national environmental agency Keep America Beautiful.

Lea King-Badyna, the Executive Director of Keep Golden Isles Beautiful, said it’s an issue in the coastal community because the thin plastic bags that are a staple at most grocery and convenience stores are ending up hanging off trees.

“We all know plastic bags don’t grow on trees. So, a reduction of the usage of plastic bags would go a long way in reducing certain types of litter in the Golden Isles,” King-Badyna said.

Volunteers with Keep Golden Isles Beautiful pick up excess garbage and litter along the coastal community, but picking up behind others only goes so far.

King-Badyna believes banning bags at grocery stores is a good start to creating awareness about how consumer choices impact the environment.

“If it were to pass, it would definitely be an emphasis for folks to change their personal habits and to think about how they spend their money and how they conduct their daily lives and that impacts our local community and environment,” King-Badyna said.

Plastic bags are also found in different waterways, including the ocean where marine animals often mistake them for food.

According to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, 100,000 marine animals are killed by plastic bags every year.

Marine wildlife can choke to death or get entangled in plastic bags and drown.

So far only eight out of 50 states have banned the use of plastic bags. They include California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, New York, Oregon and Vermont.

If Georgia becomes the ninth state to ban plastic bags, the ban will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2026.

About the Author:

This native of the Big Apple joined the News4Jax team in July 2021.