Plastic bag tax arrives in Fredericksburg on January 1

FREDERICKSBURG, VA – A tax on disposable plastic bags will be imposed on the city of Fredericksburg starting January 1. The five-cent per bag tax will be charged to buyers at checkout in grocery, drugstore and convenience stores.

The tax was approved by Fredericksburg City Council earlier this year. Last year, the Virginia General Assembly passed legislation that allows individual jurisdictions to levy a tax on plastic bags.

The tax, which will be collected at the point of purchase as a sales tax, will be administered and enforced by the Virginia Tax Commissioner in Richmond.

Officials said the decision to pass the plastic bag tax was inspired by the city council’s desired state of a clean and green environment. “Fredericksburg is a responsible and modern city with a quality of life guaranteed by careful environmental management,” is the goal of the city council, officials said in a press release Thursday.

The tax will not apply to the following items:

  • Durable plastic bags intended for multiple reuse
  • Bags which are only used to wrap ice cream, meat, fish, poultry, produce, unpackaged bulk food or other perishable food to avoid damage or contamination
  • Plastic bags used for dry cleaning or prescription drugs
  • Bags that are packaged and sold for use as garbage bags, pet waste or leaf bags

“Retailers will be compensated for the costs of collecting and remitting the tax by retaining some of the tax collected,” city officials said in a press release on Thursday. “Until January 1, 2023, retailers subject to the tax will be able to keep 2 cents for every 5 cents collected. After January 1, 2023, this discount will be reduced to 1 cent per bag.”

State law describes the specific uses of the revenue created by the plastic bag tax. Revenues are to be used for cleaning up the environment, providing education programs designed to reduce environmental waste, mitigating pollution and waste, and providing reusable bags to SNAP and WIC beneficiaries. .

Bryce K. Locke