MARGATE CITY — While some New Jersey municipalities are charging a fee for single-use plastic bags, Margate has instead decided to launch a new program called Bag it Forward to cut back on the use of plastic bags.

Margate Business Association President Ed Berger said Bag it Forward started when a small number of reusable shopping bags were handed out at some town events and it was well received.

The initial cost for the program is being covered by three businesses: Downtown Dental, Tomatoes Restaurant and Colmar Hardware.

About 10,000 reusable, recyclable shopping bags will be handed out starting in April.

"We're hoping to try and put enough of our reusable shopping bags out in the business community to try and avoid having to institute a legislative program through the city of Margate," said Berger. Other municipalities have chosen to charge a fee for plastic bags.

"It's an effort on our behalf to step up our green initiative from a business community standpoint and try to step up our stewardship of the waters surrounding our barrier island community because the plastic bags on the beaches, the bay and the ocean are a problem and has to be dealt with," said Berger.

The reusable bags can be found at most retail shops in Margate.Many of the local businesses are on board with the Bag it Forward program.

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