FULTON COUNTY, Ga. — The plastics many of us use every day are going away in some Fulton County buildings.
Plastic straws, plastic bags, food containers are just a few items we will no longer see in Fulton County facilities, or at least they won’t look the same.
“Fulton County will stop using single-use plastics. So, you have a whole waste stream that will not end up in the landfills, will not end up on our beaches or in our waterways,” said Environment Georgia’s Jennette Gayer.
Gayer said single-use plastics are found everywhere around the metro.
“If you walk around Atlanta you’ll see plastic bags in trees, if you visit a river you’ll see plastic waste in the river or on the banks,” Gayer said.
And it’s not just a concern locally.
“We have plastic trash that’s ending up in our oceans, that might come from here, metro Atlanta,” Gayer said.
The South River that runs through Fulton County flows into the Atlantic Ocean. Plastics found in it only break down into smaller pieces.
“The problem with that is that number one, it gets into the food chain. So animals eat it and we eat those animals,” Gayer said.
Scientists are finding plastics in human beings.
“It’s a huge public health problem. It’s a problem for wildlife. It’s a problem for scenery,” Gayer said.
There are alternatives and Fulton County is taking the lead.
They’re not alone, some restaurants have voluntarily helped to address the problem.
Tad Mitchell, owner of Six Feet Under said it’s been about two years since they’ve started changing out some of their plastics.
“We went to all glass ware instead of plastic tumblers,” Mitchell said.
They’re now selling metal straws.
“Cleanliness of the earth, the ocean it just seemed like the right thing to do,” Mitchell said.
California became the first state to ban plastic bags five years ago. They're banned in Hawaii too.
New York's ban takes effect next march.
It's estimated about 350 cities either banned the bags or taxed them.
Kroger plans to phase out plastic bags by 2025.
Cox Media Group