Fulton County is drawing a line in the sand when it comes to single-use plastics.

“Fulton County is joining so many other municipalities, states and counties in doing our part to drive down plastic pollution by eliminating wasteful plastics, which never break down and end up back in the ecosystem and possibly our food supply,” Fulton Board of Commissioners chair Robb Pitts said in a news release. “In a year when the Earth Day theme is ‘Protect Our Species,’ we at Fulton County are ready to achieve that goal.”

At its April 17 recess meeting, the board voted 4-0 to approve new legislation sponsored by Pitts and co-sponsored by Vice-Chair Lee Morris to immediately begin to phase out the use of single-use plastics and substitute those products with non-plastic alternatives. The proposal seeks to eliminate the use of single-use plastic products in Fulton’s owned, operated and leased facilities by Jan. 1.

The Fulton proposal follows the example set by similar legislation in municipalities around the United States and Canada to reduce waste from single-use plastics. County leaders hope that the legislation will also encourage Fulton County’s cities to pass measures reducing the use and distribution of single-use plastics. To that end, the county plans to provide a copy of the resolution to each of Fulton County’s cities for their consideration.

According to the Earth Day Network, Americans use more than 100 billion plastic shopping bags and 25 billion Styrofoam cups every year, in addition to 500 million plastic straws every day. This resolution seeks to make a dent in this problem by reducing the number of plastic products that will end up in storm drains and waterways from littering and the circulation of windblown debris.

The board directed Fulton’s energy and sustainability manager and the chief financial officer to develop and maintain a list of single-use plastics to be posted on the county website. The list of those materials will be provided to the department of purchasing and contract compliance to ask potential county vendors to seek viable non-plastic alternatives to single-use plastics.

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