NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — A plastic bag ban in North Myrtle Beach will go into effect Friday, three years after it was initially approved.

The ban was delayed twice due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The city said the ban on single-use plastic bags benefits the environment with the goal of cutting down on litter.

The ban has several exemptions, including plastic bags for meat products, dry cleaning, medications and garbage. Shops can still give out paper or reusable bags instead.

“I’m all for saving the environment, honestly, because global warming has been an issue for years, and I think plastic adds a lot to that,” said Lauren Cohen with Bargain World. “I just think that reusable bags — people can take them grocery shopping or to the beach. You can do so much more with reusable bags. More than plastic bags.”

In a special-called meeting Wednesday, council approved the first reading of an ordinance that would permit reusable plastic bags 2.25 mils or thicker for at least the next two years.

The city spokesperson told News13 that enforcement of the ban on single-use plastic bags will start with an education campaign.

“It’s like saving the environment, obviously, no plastic bags will be able to go into the sea or stay on the streets like littering,” Cohen said. “And some negatives, I think, would be the increase of costs for reusable bags because those are obviously more expensive.”