HOBOKEN, N.J. --- Mayor Ravi Bhalla thanked students and staff at All Saints Episcopal Day School on day one of the plastic bag ban because this idea originated with them.
Back in 2010, a group of middle school students brought the idea of a ban to the city. Classes that followed continued to put the pressure on.
"We are now the largest city in the State of New Jersey to implement the plastic bag ban, and we should all be proud of that," Bhalla said.
Starting Tuesday, stores and restaurants must provide paper or reusable bags or you’ll be charged a fee.
It starts at $0.10 per plastic bag, but business owners can charge more to offset the cost of reusable bags. One shopper carrying a plastic bag today said he was charged $0.35.
"This is something that effects the whole city," said Amanda Friel, a 6th grade student at All Saints.
The Mayor visited with businesses that are already on board today, including Sobsey's Produce and Little City Books.
"It's great for the environment so we're happy this initiative is happening and we're happy to take part in it," said Heather Tontaro, store manager at Little City Books.
Right now, any businesses that do not comply will get a warning but in the future city says they will face fines.
"That fine would be $100 per bag," said Bhalla. "We don't intend to impose that immediately because this is the first day of the ban on plastic bags. But we want to work with the business community to educate them, educate residents."