Plastic Bag Tax Takes Effect January 1 in City of Alexandria, Arlington County and Fairfax County

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Plastic Bag Tax Takes Effect January 1 in City of Alexandria, Arlington County and Fairfax County

­­For Immediate Release: December 27, 2021

Beginning January 1, 2022, a five-cent tax on single-use disposable plastic bags will go into effect for grocery stores, convenience stores and drug stores in the City of Alexandria, Arlington County and Fairfax County. The Alexandria City Council, Arlington County Board and Fairfax County Board of Supervisors adopted a plastic bag tax in September 2021 as a step to reduce the negative environmental impacts of single-use plastic bags.  

To support the transition, the jurisdictions have been working closely with the Northern Virginia Regional Waste Management Board to align outreach, education, timelines and common language for the localities to ensure consistency and clarity. A regional informational website contains answers to frequently asked questions and multilingual outreach materials for retailers.  Over the past few months, reusable bags have also been distributed, along with information about the plastic bag tax, to recipients of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Women, Infants and Children (WIC) benefits. 

The tax would not apply to: 

  • plastic bags intended for reuse; 

  • plastic bags solely used to wrap, contain or package certain items (ice cream, meat, fish, poultry, produce, unwrapped bulk food items or perishable food items); 

  • plastic bags for dry cleaning or prescription drugs; or 

  • multiple plastic bags sold in packages for garbage, pet waste or leaf removal. 

Collected taxes may be used for environmental cleanup; providing educational programs designed to reduce environmental waste, mitigating pollution and litter; or for providing reusable bags to SNAP or WIC benefit recipients.

Visit the Regional Plastic Bag Tax website for more information. 

News Media Contacts

City of Alexandria
Kelly Gilfillen

County of Arlington
Jessica Baxter

County of Fairfax
Aline Althen

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This news release is available at