RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Imagine if Richmonders had to pay 5 cents for every plastic bag that they use to carry groceries from the store. Eight Virginia localities have already passed ordinances to implement a plastic bag tax on residents. Could Richmond be next?

Back in 2020, the Virginia General Assembly began allowing counties and cities to establish a 5-cent plastic bag tax, to the delight of many environmental activists.

According to Virginia Tax, local businesses, such grocery and convenience stores and pharmacies, would collect the 5-cent charge at the check-out line for each plastic bag that a customer uses. The money raised from this tax would go back to the counties and cities to support environmental cleanup projects, litter and pollution mitigation efforts and environmental educational initiatives, as well as to provide reusable bags for recipients of government benefits, like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children.

In Loudoun County, the plastic bag tax kicks off on July 1. Albemarle will soon follow, with the fee set to apply on Jan. 1, 2023, according to a news release from the county on May 4.

The following Virginia localities already have the plastic bag tax in effect:

  • Alexandria City
  • Arlington County
  • Fairfax County
  • Falls Church City
  • Fredericksburg City
  • Roanoke City

According to Virginia Tax, durable plastic bags made with handles and designed to be used multiple times will not be subject to the tax. Plastic bags that are used to wrap or contain foods and products to prevent contamination or damage are also not subject to the 5-cent charge.

For more information on how to file the plastic bag tax, head over to the Virginia Tax’s website.