Roanoke’s ‘plastic bag tax’ to take effect on New Years Day

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) – For many years, the city of Roanoke has hoped to pass an ordinance that would authorize a tax or ban on plastic bags in the city.

“We have been asking for it for 12 years. So that was a big deal when the General Assembly finally allowed us to pass the ordinance, ”said Nell Boyle, Sustainability and Outreach Coordinator for the Town of Roanoke.

City council approved the ordinance in the summer of 2021. But effective Jan. 1, 2022, a five-cent-per-bag tax will begin at grocery stores, convenience stores, and drugstores.

“What we’re trying to do is encourage people to switch to reusable bags and ditch those plastic bags. Because they create a lot of waste in our streets and in waterways, especially in our stormwater drainage systems.

Boyle said businesses would get a 2-cent rebate per bag, but the rest of the tax money will go to the city, especially for environmental cleanup and pollution and plastic education. Boyle said he has received a positive response from businesses.

“The stores have been quite favorable. I think they also see the opportunity that they might not need to provide bags anymore at some point, so there is a benefit to that.

Boyle and the city want this to be a team effort and hope it will be positive for the community of Roanoke as they look to the future.

You can find more information about the “Plastic Bag Tax” here.

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Bryce K. Locke