MARLTON, N.J. (CBS) – New Jersey’s single-use plastics ban is now in effect, and there’s a lot residents need to know.
Stores in New Jersey have been preparing for this day for a year and a half. They can no longer provide customers with plastic bags. Instead, they’re urging you to BYOB — bring your own bags.READ MORE: Dirt Bike Rider Wanted In Hit-And-Run That Left Teenager Dead, Philadelphia Police Say
Starting at 7 a.m. Wednesday, Wawa is launching its skip the bag for good initiative. Every Wawa in New Jersey has 1,000 reusable bags that they’ll be giving out to customers for free while supplies last.
The big change is that grocery stores and other retailers can no longer give you single-use plastic bags. Larger grocery stores are not allowed to give out paper bags either.
Styrofoam food products are also outlawed under the new law.
There are some exceptions to the bag ban, like the plastic bags you use to buy fruits and vegetables.
Stores caught breaking the law will get a warning at first. Then they could be fined up to $1,000 for their second offense and up to $5,000 for a third.
Eyewitness News went to Rastelli’s in Marlton, Burlington County to see how the store and shoppers are preparing for the big change.
“Some are caught by surprise. Some are happy about it, some are not so happy about it,” assistant grocery manager Robert Neabor said.
We came across both of those points of view.READ MORE: Republican Nomination For Pennsylvania U.S. Senate Race Uncertain As Thousands Of Mail-In Votes Still Being Counted
“I think it’s a little ridiculous. I think there’s a lot of other issues that need to be taken care of besides a plastic bag. So I’m not too happy about it,” one man said.
“Plastic bags are obviously awful for the environment,” one woman said.
However you view it, it’s happening and Rastelli’s wants to help your transition.
“We have many kinds of bags available for purchase. Tomorrow we are going to be handing out bags for customers that come up if they don’t have a bag. We want to make this transition as seamless as we can just so they’re not caught off-guard,” Neabor said.
Grocery stores, restaurants, cafes, food trucks, convenience stores, pharmacies and retail stores like Target and Macy’s will be affected in some way or another by this ban.
The push to ban paper and plastic is environmental, and it could cut down significantly on waste.
According to the League of Conservation Voters, right now New Jersey goes through 4.4 billion single-use plastic bags per year, which is the equivalent of 1,300 football fields worth of trees to produce paper bags.
Residents of the Garden State are split on the new policies. A new Monmouth University poll found more than 60% support a ban on plastic bags and foam food containers, but less than half want a ban on paper bags.
“When I have to start paying for them, it’s gonna be you know, as they get older and rip and all that stuff, it’s gonna be ridiculous,” Thomas Ledgerwood, of Pennsyauken, said. “It’s another cost to the consumer.”MORE NEWS: Father Of 18-Year-Old Killed In Sand Collapse On Toms River Beach Shares Message Remembering Son
CBS3’s Ross DiMattei and Siafa Lewis contributed to this report.