BY: Lauren Steffes
Bag the Bag, an UGA environmental advocacy organization, is installing hard-to-recycle stations in many resident halls and throughout campus. Students can use the bins dispose of their plastic bags, batteries, Styrofoam and other hard-to-recycle products that contribute to toxic waste.
Bag the Bag received a $3,000 grant in December from the UGA Office of Sustainability to decrease plastic bag and hard-to-recycle materials on UGA’s campus and throughout the greater Athens-Clarke County area. In addition to installing recycle stations, the organization plans to create a short educational film about the dangers of petroleum-based waste.
Tiffany Eberhard, president of Bag the Bag, believes providing students with easy access to recycling bins can make a huge difference. She plans to distribute the short film to Athens public schools to instill kids with a passion for sustainability and inspire recycling habits.
“We hope to educate the youth about the importance of using reusable products,” Eberhard said.
Eberhard hopes the organization’s initiatives will lead to positive change throughout Athens.
The group is currently encouraging Athens-Clarke County government to implement a 5 cent tax on single-use plastic bags. Bag the Bag member Landon Bubb speaks at the Mayor and Commissioners every month to advocate for the tax and educate the public about the toxicity of petroleum-based waste.
“We would like Athens to be the first county in the South to pass a plastic bag ban!” Bubb said.
Melissa Link, an ACC commissioner, fully agrees with taking action against plastic bag usage.
“I support just about any efforts to reduce the use of petroleum-based products in the Athens Community so that we may lessen our reliance on this toxic and unsustainable industry,” Link said. “I also believe we should follow the lead of New York City and ban or implement fees on Styrofoam take-out containers and cups.”
She believes sustainable legislation could send powerful messages to and inspire waste reduction throughout the “notoriously behind-the-times South.”