Falls Church City Council Approved Plastic Bag Tax

FALLS CHURCH, VA – On Monday, Falls Church City Council approved a 5-cent plastic bag tax that will begin at grocery stores, convenience stores and drugstores in April 2022.

The 5 cent tax on each disposable plastic bag will be charged at applicable City of Falls Church stores as of April 1, 2022. Customers can avoid the charge by using reusable bags at checkout. The tax will not apply to plastic bags used to package ice cream, meat, fish, poultry, fruits and vegetables, unpackaged bulk foods or perishable foods to prevent damage or contamination ; plastic bags for dry cleaning or prescription drugs, and many plastic bags sold in garbage, animal waste or leaf disposal packaging. The tax will not apply to durable plastic bags designed for reuse.

The authority for communities to implement a plastic bag tax was under state law of 2020. Other neighboring communities, including Fairfax County and Arlington County, have adopted their own. Plastic bag tax orders that come into effect on January 1, 2022. Because an adopted local ordinance requires review by the Virginia Tax Commissioner, the adoption must take place three months before it goes into effect Date .

The tax will be collected by the Virginia tax commissioner. Deductions will be made to the state and retailers for the administration of the tax. Retailers will keep two cents out of five cents collected until January 1, 2023. After January 1, 2023, retailers will keep one cent in five cents.

The purpose of the plastic bag tax is to discourage the use of disposable plastic bags, as plastic bags are frequently pollutants in local watersheds. After deductions, localities can use the remaining tax revenue on plastic bags for several purposes under state law. These include environmental cleaning, education programs to reduce environmental waste, pollution and waste mitigation, and reusable bags provided to beneficiaries of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP ) or the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program.

SNAP of WIC recipients will be able to receive a free reusable bag from the City’s Housing and Social Services Department at City Hall starting January 10. Pickup times will be 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays, excluding statutory holidays.

The city estimates that around twenty companies will be impacted. According to the city’s website, “in order to be subject to tax in a locality, a grocery store, convenience store or pharmacy must maintain regular hours of operation at a fixed place of business in the locality.”

Bryce K. Locke