Fairfax County officials say the plastic bag tax that was established in January has netted $511,000 in revenue, and now they’re proposing ideas for how to spend it.
Officials from the Office of Environmental and Energy Coordination are recommending that $370,000 go to a program called Operation Stream Shield, which pays homeless people to clean up county waterways and roadsides.
The rest of the money would be used on programs such as the Storm Drain Education and Labeling Projects, Community Labor Force Maintenance to go along with projects that prioritizes buying reusable shopping bags to give to low-income residents and shoppers at county farmers’ markets.
The county expects revenue from the tax to decline over time as people gradually begin to use fewer plastic bags.
State law says money earned from plastic bag taxes have to be spent on environmental initiatives.
“This is an opportunity for us to repurpose those funds if you will for ways to hopefully continue to make a difference in our environmental management,” County Supervisor Dan Storck said in an Environmental Committee Meeting on July 26.
The Board of Supervisors say the revenue will likely reach $1.2 million by the end of the year.
Fairfax County implemented the five cent plastic bag tax on Jan. 1.