Bag Blog

Statewide Plastic Bag Recycling Program Launches at Georgia Capitol

'A Bag's Life' Campaign Offers Education, Website, App to Help Locate 750 Retail Drop-off Sites for Plastic Bags and Wraps Statewide

Southeast Green

Georgia yesterday joined the "A Bag's Life" recycling education movement which helps consumers find nearly 750 grocery and retail store drop off sites for their plastic bags and wraps statewide. Legislators, recyclers, retailers and government officials gathered at the capitol to announce participation in the awareness campaign, which provides a website ( with a zip code locator app and social media outreach.

Georgia Department of Community Affairs Commissioner Mike Beatty joined State Senator Ross Tolleson and State Representative Lynn Smith, who each chair their legislative Natural Resources Committees, and students from metro Atlanta schools in kicking off A Bag's Life. Officers with the Georgia Food Industry Association, the Georgia Recycling Coalition and Keep Georgia Beautiful also spoke in favor of the public-private partnership.

A Bag's Life, through quirky messaging like "Don't treat me like trash" and "Gimme a second chance," encourages consumers to reduce, reuse and recycle their free grocery bags. It also reminds people that other bags like those used for dry cleaning, newspapers and bread, as well as wraps and films used on products like paper towels or bottled water also can be dropped off at many retailers for recycling.

"While recycling plastic bags and wraps is a shared responsibility, retailers recognize they must take a leadership role in the state's recycling policies," said Kathy Zuzava, president of the Georgia Food Industry Association. "Most of our members already have established plastic bag and wrap recycling in their stores. A Bag's Life simply takes those efforts one step further by making it easy for customers to locate the nearest recycling opportunity at their favorite local retailer."

Nationwide, plastic bag and wrap recycling is on the rise, reaching a record high of nearly 972 million pounds in 2010 - an increase of 50 percent since 2005 - according to a report released last month by Moore Recycling Associates, Inc on behalf of the American Chemistry Council. In the past five years, recycling of plastic film grew seven times faster than recycling overall, according to EPA data.

"By taking the extra time to bring our bags and wraps back to the store to be recycled, we are giving that bag a second chance to be made into something else like outdoor decking, park benches, or even new bags," said Gloria Hardegree, executive director of the Georgia Recycling Coalition. "By remembering this simple step, we can make a significant difference in reusing and recycling these valuable plastic resources."

The plastic bag icon on the website is designed to take on a life of its own, smiling when it's happy, frowning when it's not. Website copy suggests that individuals should step up and do their part to address litter and waste rather than blame the bag if it's not being recycled or reused.

"This program demonstrates what public and private groups can do when they work together," said Sarah Visser, executive director of Keep Georgia Beautiful. "Individually, if each one of us takes this extra earth-friendly step to remember to recycle our bags, we can reduce litter in our communities and yield tremendous results."