SURFSIDE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Paper or plastic? It's no longer an option for shoppers in Surfside Beach where the town ban single-use plastic bags took effect this weekend.
Businesses within the town's limits are now barred from handing out single-use plastic bags like the ones you'd typically get at the grocery store, pharmacy, or a retail store. The ordinance to do away with plastic passed in late January by a 6-to-1 vote after environmental concerns were raised regarding pollution in the ocean.
While many residents have voiced their support of the ban, some stores say they're now having to take on the extra cost, and say finding an alternative is difficult.
"We had to outsource a place to find the bags and we had to get numerous sizes. A plastic bag was one size, now with a paper bag we have four different sizes. The biggest thing was just re-training all our clerks how to utilize the bag properly so it's not as costly as we were expecting," said Michael Byrd, Manager for Piggly Wiggly.
A first-time violation is up to a $100 fine, businesses can be fined up to $200 for a second violation and up to $500 for violations after that. Businesses have had about four months to prepare for the ban.
"This weekend has been our challenge, we're about to run out now. We didn't know what to gauge as far as how many we were going to use during a busy weekend in the summer but I think after this week we'll be pretty adjusted to everything," said Byrd.
Some businesses outside Surfside beach town limits, like the Food Lion on Glenns Bay Road, have also made the transition to paper bags only.