As we wait to see whether New Jersey will implement a 5-cent fee on every paper and plastic bag given to shoppers, several municipalities are already underway with either charging for these items or doing away with them altogether.

In Monmouth Beach, it's the first summer for a ban on merchants distributing single-use plastics such as straws and bags.

Mark Cohen, chair of the borough's environmental commission, said while it's too early to tell whether the move is having an impact on the amount of trash left on the shore and making its way into the water, there's already a palpable change in mindset.

"We want to be environmentally aware," Cohen said. "We want to make people just more conscious of how they dispose of these items."

The borough's ban, which took effect in June, may be the most comprehensive in the state.

In Long Beach, Jersey City and Hoboken, bans address single-use plastic bags only. Plastic bags can be distributed in Longport and Ventnor, as long as consumers pay a small fee. A fee for plastic bags is on hold in Teaneck until Gov. Phil Murphy decides whether to sign a fee into law statewide.

In a year or so, merchants in Atlantic County parks will be fined if they provide single-use plastic bags to customers. Until then, officials will be handing out warnings.

In Stafford, a ban on plastic bags is expected to take effect in August. Businesses in Belmar have been told that plastic bags must be out of the picture come May 2019.

Brynn Horner, a manager at Exit 98 Boutique on the Belmar boardwalk, said the staff is in support of protecting the environment, but the change will a pose a financial issue for the business.

"We are a summer boutique, so we're only open a few months out of the year," Horner said. "Having to get, say, paper bags or something else is definitely going to be more expensive."

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