There was an 18-month heads-up. But compliance with New Jersey's ban on single-use plastic bags — and paper bags in many instances — may not be 100%.

So, if you care enough, New Jersey offers a couple ways for residents to report an overt violation of the law by businesses.

"I think right now we're still very much in the category of getting the word out," said Doug O'Malley, director of Environment New Jersey. "Ideally, every business owner knew this was coming. If they didn't, now's the time to make the transition."

O'Malley advises residents, "if you see something, say something" to the business owner. Actual reports of violations can be made one of two ways:

"We are all about education and compliance assistance as this transition takes place," said JoAnn Gemenden, executive director at NJ Clean Communities Council, one of the groups charged with raising awareness about the ban. "The law took this into account and built in a warning for first-time violators."

But second-time violators could face a fine of up to $1,000. Subsequent violations could come with fines of up to $5,000, for each day an entity remains non-compliant.

Dino Flammia is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at

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