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Plastic bag ban begins at supermarkets in New Jersey, along with other restricted items

New Jersey's ban on plastic bags takes effect 02:48

MONTCLAIR, N.J. -- Wednesday is the day to bring your reusable bags if you're going food shopping in New Jersey.

Single-use plastic bags, foam containers, and paper bags are now banned at large supermarkets in the Garden State.

Employees at Amin's Corner, a grocery, deli and grill on Orange Road in Montclair, told CBS2's Leah Mishkin they are adjusting and reminding customers of the new restrictions.

"I think it's a good thing, obviously, because of, you know, saving the environment and all of that. But at the same token, it's something that we're not used to for decades after decades," Susan Amin said.

READ MOREHow grocery delivery will be implemented is a concern in new plastic bag ban in New Jersey

Amin's Corner is allowed to hand out paper bags, but that's no longer the case at large supermarkets in New Jersey.

When asked what constitutes a large store, Doug O'Malley, the director of the group Environment New Jersey, said, "It's a grocery store or store that sells food that's bigger than 2,500 square feet."

At those stores, it's reusable bags only, whether customers bring it from home or buy it while food shopping.

Removing paper bags from the mix takes this law a step further than New York's bans on single-use plastic bags and foam containers.

"We want to be able to kind of initiate a culture shift," O'Malley said.

He said the law was signed by Gov. Phil Murphy in 2020, giving businesses and customers a chance to prepare.

"This is a huge impact on day one. Every day, New Jerseyans use an average of 12 million single-use plastic bags," O'Malley said. "They also end up in our waterways, in our parks, and on the Jersey Shore, and nearly every single waterway in the state has microplastics in it. Microplastics have even been shown to end up in our bloodstreams. So what's good for the environment, ultimately, is good for us."

Like with all change, there is going to be some people who are happy and some who are not.

"A lot of people don't keep bags. I don't keep bags," one person said.

"It's about time that we do something to stop what's happening with our environment," added Terrell Paige of Montclair.

Looking around, there's plastic everywhere, including cold cut bags and individually wrapped foods. They aren't part of this law, but environmentalists hope companies take similar action to reduce their plastic use.

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