Fairfax County is on track to bring in more than $1 million in revenue from the first year of its plastic bag tax.
In the first five months after the tax took effect on Jan. 1, the county government received over $500,000, the Office of Environmental and Energy Coordination said in a memo to the Board of Supervisors.
That’s even with retailers allowed to retain two out of every five cents collected on each disposable plastic bag they distribute in 2022, a provision intended to offset the costs of transitioning away from plastic for businesses.
The OEEC projects that the tax will generate $1.2 million for the county over its inaugural year.
“Revenue is likely to fluctuate in the first few years of implementation,” OEEC Director Kambiz Agazi wrote to the board, noting that the amount of the tax retained by retailers will drop to one cent on Jan. 1, 2023. “…As has been observed in other jurisdictions with a plastic bag tax, over the long term, tax revenue is likely to trend downward as consumers begin reducing their use of disposable plastic bags.”
The revenue that the county has “regrettably” collected so far suggests many community members haven’t gotten into the habit yet of bringing their own bags to grocery stores and other businesses, Mount Vernon District Supervisor Dan Storck observed yesterday (Tuesday) at the end of the board’s environmental committee meeting.
By a matter of days, Fairfax County became the first locality in Northern Virginia to adopt a plastic bag tax in September. The 5-cent levy was enabled by a 2020 state law and is supposed to encourage people to use more sustainable alternatives.
Under the law, revenue can be used to support educational programs, clean up pollution and litter, and provide reusable bags to people who receive federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Women, Infants and Children (WIC) food benefits.
In his memo, Agazi proposes allocating $511,000 already accrued from the tax to existing county programs, including:
- Operation Stream Shield, which pays people experiencing homelessness to help clean up local streams ($370,000)
- Storm drain education and labeling projects ($70,000)
- Maintenance activities by the Community Labor Force, which the sheriff’s office says will be suspended in September ($30,000)
The plan also designates funding for technology that collects litter in county waterways, gloves and other materials for volunteer stream cleanups, and reusable bags for SNAP and WIC recipients, food pantries, and farmers’ markets.
For future beneficiaries, staff proposed having a formal process where county agencies apply for funding. A project selection committee would prioritize the submitted projects, which would then be reviewed by the county’s chief financial officer and Department of Management and Budget.
In addition to meeting the state criteria for the plastic bag tax, the projects would have to be based in the county or part of a regional initiative that directly benefits the county and scheduled to start in the same year that money is requested. They also can’t require new, permanent staff positions, be part of the capital improvement program, or have other sources of funding.
“This is an opportunity for us to repurpose those funds, if you will, to hopefully make a difference in our environmental management,” Storck said.
Photo via Christopher Vega/Unsplash
Good Friday evening, Fairfax County. Let’s take a look back at today’s stories and a look forward to tomorrow’s event calendar. 🕗 News recap The following articles were published earlier…
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Do the holidays have you stressed and busy? Worry not about what to wear as Live Fairfax has the Style Survival Guide for this season!
The Georgetown Visitation Masqueraders proudly present
Descendants The Musical
Art House 7 warmly welcomes you to our upcoming Fall 2 session of classes starting on October 30th. We’re thrilled to offer a diverse range of mediums and flexible class lengths, catering to a wide age range, starting from as young as 2, and, of course, providing a multitude of engaging options for adults!
Our classes cover an exciting spectrum of creative mediums, including fiber arts such as knitting, modern embroidery, crochet, and sewing. We also offer classes in ceramics on the wheel, drawing, watercolor, gouache, oil, acrylic, still-life painting, and captivating Japanese Suminagashi and printmaking. One of the highlights of this session is the highly anticipated 5-week “Painting the Portrait and Figure” workshop, led by the renowned local artist, Danni Dawson.
For our younger artists, we have specially designed classes like “Art Exploration through Impressionism” for students in kindergarten through 5th grade, an engaging “Art Together” parent-child class designed for 2–4-year-olds, and a “Teen Taught Art Club” tailored for kindergarteners through 4th graders.
Proceeds benefit Fellowship Square, improving the lives of 800+ older adults with very limited income and resources by providing affordable housing and supportive services.
Experience a festive holiday fundraiser complete with savory wines & craft beers, scrumptious hors d’oeuvres, exciting