Styrofoam and plastic bags could be banned in Georgia

Could you live without plastic bags or styrofoam cups? Soon, you might have to. A Georgia Senator just introduced a bill to ban both in stores and restaurants.

Senator Sally Harrell (D) said she hopes they will serve food in paper or cardboard containers instead.

Along with banning styrofoam containers and plastic bags, this bill would charge a fee for paper bags. "The amount is going to be so small you'll barely notice," said Sen. Harrell. "Maybe two to three cents per cup, and with the bags, we're talking, you can bring your own bags, and it won't cost you anything," she said.

For small business owner Debesay Sium, this change is something he believes is right, but he said he's worried about food safety and cost. "What people need to understand is the cost," said Sium. "How much is it going to cost us? So we pass to the customer, or we share the costs?" he asked.

That cost and the extra task is something some customers say they're not willing to take on. "That's not good," said customer Terrence Smith. "You've got people who are at work, going to lunch, and carrying kids, and it makes it so much more convenient for us," he said of being able to have plastic bags and styrofoam takeout carriers.

Sium said changing consumer behavior is going to be the toughest part in his opinion. Yet, even with all the concerns about how this bill would work, Sium said he still sees the benefit in the long term.

"Everybody's going to have to make a little change, and that's what it's gonna take to have a clean environment," said Harrell.

The bill is slated to head to a committee hearing soon. Senator Harrell said she is hoping this will bring Georgia into the group of states putting the environment at the top of its priority list.