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Alexandria to consider imposing 5 cent tax on plastic bags

After getting approval from the General Assembly last year, next month Alexandria will consider adopting a 5 cent plastic bag tax at drug stores, grocery stores and convenience stores.

The proposal, which has been in the works since 2017, will be discussed in a virtual information session on September 8 at 7 p.m.

The Virginia General Assembly adopted legislation last year allowing localities to impose a bag tax. Alexandria has supported legislation that limits use of plastic bags for the last three years.

“Lightweight plastic bags are commonly found in waterways as litter and remain as a pollutant,” the City reported. “Wildlife commonly mistake plastic bags for food and also cause microscopic particles of broken down plastics to enter into the food chain.”

Staff are planning to present a draft ordinance to City Council with an effective date of January 1, 2022.

According to the city, the collected taxes will be used for:

  • Environmental Cleanup;
  • Providing education programs designed to reduce environmental waste;
  • Mitigating pollution and litter; or
  • Providing reusable bags to recipients of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Women, Infants, and Children Program (WIC) benefits

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