Falls Church plastic bag tax starts Friday

It ain’t no April Fool’s joke: Falls Church’s 5-cent plastic bag tax is in effect starting Friday.

According to the city, about 20 stores are affected — among them, grocery stores, convenience stores and drugstores.

The easiest way to avoid the tax is to bring your own reusable bags or opt for paper bags.

Money from the tax will go toward environmental cleanup programs, pollution and litter mitigation programs, educational programs on environmental waste reduction and providing reusable bags to neighbors in need, the city said.

There are a few exemptions. The 5-cent tax will not apply to:

  • Durable plastic bags, with handles, that are specifically designed and manufactured for reuse and that are at least four thousandths of an inch thick
  • Plastic bags that are solely used to wrap, contain or package ice cream, meat, fish, poultry, produce, unwrapped bulk food items or perishable food items in order to avoid damage or contamination
  • Plastic bags used to carry dry cleaning or prescription drugs
  • Multiple plastic bags sold in packages and intended for use as garbage, pet waste or leaf removal bags

The Virginia General Assembly gave its approval for localities to tax plastic bags back in 2020. Nearby jurisdictions started their bag taxes in January.

More information can be found online.

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Will Vitka

William Vitka is a Digital Editor and reporter for WTOP.com. He's been in the news industry for over a decade. Before joining WTOP, he worked for CBS News, Stuff Magazine, The New York Post and wrote a variety of books—about a dozen of them, with more to come.

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