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
A special education teacher at Marshall High School in Idylwood has been arrested for allegedly assaulting a student more than once, Fairfax County police announced Friday night (Dec. 2). Two…
I-66 HOV Change Starts Today — “The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) reminds travelers that starting Monday, Dec. 5, vehicles will need three or more occupants to qualify as a…
Good Friday evening! Today we published 7 articles that were read a total of 11171 times on FFXnow alone, so far. 📈 Top stories The following are the most-read articles…
Upgraded lighting is no longer a component of upgrades to the Barton Hill tennis courts in Reston. Reston Association will not challenge the Oct. 26 vote by the Fairfax County…
If you’re looking for a mental health professional in Virginia, Washington D.C., or Maryland, we can help.
We provide a confidential and convenient way to get the help you need from the comfort of your own home.
We offer a free 15-minute consultation to see if our services fit your needs.
The services we offer are:
Art House 7 is a small art studio in Arlington – offering instruction in painting, ceramics, sewing and more. We are looking for kind, dedicated people who love both creating and teaching.
Ceramic Teachers are needed to teach wheel-throwing to adults and 6-12th graders and to teach hand building to elementary grades. Classes have 3-8 students.
Drawing teachers are needed to teach either kids or adults. For kids, we offer cartooning, manga or traditional drawing. For adults, we only offer traditional drawing.
Painting teachers are needed to teach either kids or adults. We offer oil, acrylic or watercolor for adults or teens. All elementary classes use acrylic and tempera.
Join the chorus this holiday season with The Reston Chorale’s annual MESSIAH Sing-Along, 7:30 pm at St. John Neumann Catholic Church (Chapel), 11900 Lawyers Road, Reston, VA. Featuring Guest Soloists Grace Srinivasen, soprano; Melissa Cregger, mezzo soprano; Joseph Regan, tenor,