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Bill would ban plastic grocery bags in Georgia

Lawmakers have resisted previous efforts.

ATLANTA — Georgia lawmakers could ban plastic bags at grocery stores if a Senate bill passes this session. Backers said Georgia’s inattention to the issue of disposable plastic bags hurts the environment and residents.

Those thin plastic bags are mainstays at grocery and convenience stories. Critics said they’re difficult to recycle and easy to toss away – ending up in landfills or in waterways.  

When volunteers cleaned a portion of the Chattahoochee River recently, state Sen. Donzella James (D-South Fulton) said it was choked with plastic.  She wants to ban the bags in Georgia.

"Too much wildlife (is) dying. And then when you buy fish sometimes, they’ve ingested so much of it, we’re getting more of it in our foods," James said.

Business interests claim plastic bag bans have been ineffective elsewhere and costly to consumers and businesses.  Yet, James said consumers are tired of seeing plastic trash and worry about its effect on human health.

However, lawmakers have resisted laws banning plastic bags. In fact eight years ago, the Georgia Senate passed a bill that would have forbidden individual local governments -- like Athens and Tybee Island -- from banning plastic bags. 

The bill never became law.

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