Plastic Bag Tax
Plastic Bag Tax
The City of Alexandria, along with Arlington and Fairfax Counties, has adopted a 5-cent per bag tax on disposable plastic bags from grocery, convenience, and drug stores. The tax went into effect on January 1, 2022.
In 2020, the Virginia General Assembly adopted Virginia Code 58.1-1745 , which authorizes any county or city in Virginia to impose a tax of five cents per bag on disposable plastic bags provided to customers by convenience stores, drug stores, and grocery stores. On September 18, 2021, the Alexandria City Council unanimously adopted the Plastic Bag Tax Ordinance.
The City has been working closely with the Northern Virginia Regional Waste Management Board (Waste Board), in an effort to align outreach, education, and common language for localities to ensure consistency and clarity. A regional informational website contains answers to frequently asked questions and multilingual outreach materials for retailers. The City will be updating this webpage as engagement efforts continue with the public and the regulated entities.
Information for Residents
Avoid the 5-cent bag fee when shopping at grocery stores, convenience stores, and drug stores by bringing your reusable bag whenever you shop.
Reusable bag access for SNAP / WIC Community
The City has been offering reusable bags to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Women, Infants and Children (WIC) communities.
ALIVE! WEEKEND FOOD DISTRIBUTIONS - Disposable plastic bags all too often end up in our waterways and are a danger to wildlife. That’s why ALIVE! is joining the city-wide goal of encouraging the use of reusable bags, and we need your help!
While supplies last, groceries will be packed with a reusable bag during the weekend food distribution events as a way to share bags with the community. Calendar is subject to change. Please refer to ALIVE!'s website for any announcements regarding changes to the food distribution events.
REUSABLE BAGS AVAILABLE FOR PICK-UP WHILE SUPPLIES LAST
- 2525 Mount Vernon Ave.
- Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
- 2900-B Business Center Dr.
- Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Information for Businesses
Grocery stores, convenience stores, and drug stores are required to charge a 5-cent fee per disposable plastic bag provided at checkout starting January 1, 2022, in the City of Alexandria, as well as Fairfax and Arlington Counties.
The tax will be collected, administered, and enforced by the Virginia Department of Taxation in the same manner that the state now collects and distributes the City's local Sales Tax. Until January 1, 2023, retailers affected by the plastic bag tax will be able to retain two cents for every five cents collected on each plastic bag. After January 1, 2023, the amount will decrease to one cent. Please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions below regarding information about what types of bags are exempted, where funds are used, and more.
If the businesses have questions about exemptions, or whether or not they need to register and collect the tax, please call the Customer Service section at the Virginia Department of Taxation at 804-367-8037. Secure email to the department can also be sent from www.tax.virginia.gov/contact-us. For state guidelines, please visit www.tax.virginia.gov/disposable-plastic-bag-tax.
The City will provide business owners support to transition to the effective Plastic Bag Tax. The City will make available, point-of-sale graphics, flyers, and template language on this website that businesses can use to communicate to its customers regarding the upcoming tax. To request printed resources, please complete the Plastic Bag Tax Support form.
Understanding and incorporating stakeholder feedback is an important element in the development of the City's ordinance. The City started discussions with the public regarding plastic bags since 2017, as part of the development and adoption of the City's 20-year WasteSmart Strategic Plan and the Environmental Action Plan (EAP). It was identified through the years of stakeholder engagement, the desire from the public to see less environmental impact of plastic bags. A short-term action item was included in the final adopted WasteSmart and EAP plans, along with including the support for plastic bag levy in the 2019 and 2020 Legislative Packages. A virtual information session was held on September 8, 2021 which included an opportunity for stakeholders to provide questions and feedback. A public hearing on the Plastic Bag Tax also took place on September 18, 2021.
Engagement with the Regulated Entities
In partnership with the Waste Board, the City sent a letter to approximately 115 grocery stores, drug stores, and convenience stores requesting feedback from impacted regulated communities. Feedback was requested regarding current plastic bag practices, what they anticipate as challenges with the implementation of a plastic bag tax, and what resources would be helpful to communicate the plastic bag fee to their customers and staff. Additional letters were sent to the regulated entities to notify retailers of the virtual information session on September 8, 2021.