Bag the Bag is a student-run organization at the University of Georgia that works with the Athens community to promote sustainable practices. One way that Bag the Bag connects with the Athens area is through community clean-ups and helping businesses with handling their old plastic bags. On the University of Georgia campus, Bag the Bag assists the Office of Sustainability’s work in promoting sustainable practices, like proper disposal of plastics, through coordinating campus cleanups.
On campus, Bag the Bag’s community clean-ups have resulted in increased participation in proper recycling habits. According to the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System (STARS) in 2021, the University of Georgia campus recycled 1,006 tons of waste out of the 6,648 tons produced during the performance year.
Plastic bags are particularly harmful to the environment because they take 1,000 years to break down in conventional landfills. Even after this breakdown happens, microplastics are still present and can continue to cause damage to the environment. “I believe at our campus clean-up we collected, I want to say 40 pounds of trash,” said Liora McElvaney, president of Bag the Bag. These 40 pounds were collected at just one campus cleanup event.