LONG BRANCH, N.J. - The city of Long Branch took preemptive measures Friday to clean up the "Friendly City" by banning single-use plastic items such as bags, straws and utensils.

Businesses will have until Dec. 31 to retract all plastics, and could face a $500 fine for the first offense, with the fines growing to $2,500 and $3,000 for the second or third.

The plastic bag ban in Long Branch closely follows the ban in Asbury Park, which went into effect on Jan. 1.

The state of New Jersey is also considering a statewide plastic ban as early as 2021.