Mount Vernon-Lee Chamber of Commerce: Fairfax County issues plastic bag tax

10/14/2021 4:07 PM

The Fairfax
The district board recently passed a five-cent tax on plastic bags
this will come into force on January 1, 2022. Let’s take a closer look at this new regulation and how it will affect businesses and consumers in Fairfax County.

The General Assembly approved the tax during its last session so that it would be collected by the state in the same manner as retail sales and use taxes and then redistributed to Fairfax County.

The tax is levied “on every single-use plastic bag made available to a consumer of personal property by retailers in grocery stores, convenience stores, or drug stores”. This tax applies to small retailers and large stores that sell groceries or have a pharmacy. It applies to petrol stations with convenience stores. The tax is levied on groceries purchased through an online delivery service based in Fairfax County.

Exemptions from the five-cent tax include restaurant uses such as packing a take-away meal in a plastic bag. Other retailers such as clothing, office supplies or hardware stores are also excluded.

For food
There are some additional exceptions to supermarkets, convenience stores and drug stores
from the tax. These are plastic bags
Not taxed: 1) Heavy duty plastic bags with handles that are specially designed
designed and manufactured for multiple reuse and at least four mil. are

2) plastic
Bags that are used exclusively for wrapping, holding or packaging ice cream, meat, fish,
Poultry, produce, bulk bulk food, or perishable food in the correct order
to avoid damage or contamination;

3) plastic
Bags for dry cleaning or prescription medicine; and 4) plastic bags sold
in packaging and intended for use as trash, pet litter, or leaf removal bags.
These bags are all tax exempt.

To help retailers implement this new tax, they can withhold a percentage
the tax revenue for their use. This amount is two cents per pocket for 2022
and then from January 1, 2023, one cent per pocket.

It is unclear how much revenue Fairfax County will generate from this new tax. The national revenue survey estimates are between $ 20 million and $ 25 million. In 2012, Montgomery County
introduced a similar tax, and a 2018 news story reported $ 2.41 million in
Revenue. This sales decreased over time as consumers got used to it
Bring your own reusable bags when shopping.

How is Fairfax County the
Income from this new tax? The General Assembly says that the income from this tax may be
used for environmental purposes
Cleanup programs, pollution and waste prevention programs, educational programs
Programs to reduce environmental waste and provide reusable bags for
Recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or women,
Benefits of the Infant and Children’s Program (WIC).

You can find more information about the plastic bag tax at

This news release was prepared by the Mount Vernon-Lee Chamber of Commerce. The views expressed here are your own.