Coral Gables’ cutting-edge ban on plastic bags, passed last year by the City Commission, is now in effect. What that means is that, following a year’s worth of public “education,” retailers can no longer bag their customers’ purchases in plastic. If they do so, code enforcers can begin a series of fines that start at $50, then climb to $100, $500 and finally $1,000 within 12 months. The ban is the city’s second of its type (Styrofoam containers are also banned), and has brought the Gables national recognition as a eco trend-setter. “It’s going fine so far,” said one retailer on the transition to paper bags. “The only problem is heavy rains. If it’s a Tsunami, we keep some plastic bags stashed in the back.” The Florida Retail Federation and Super Progresso (parent company of 7-11) are challenging the ban in court, but for now it’s in the bag.