ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Starting Jan. 1, 2023, residents in Albemarle County will be charged a five-cent tax on disposable plastic bags at grocery stores, convenience stores and pharmacies.

According to a statement from the county, the Virginia Disposable Plastic Bag Tax was put in place to address the costs and potentially harmful impacts of disposable plastic bags in the community, and to encourage the use of reusable bags. In 2023, Albemarle County will join several other localities in the commonwealth that have already implemented the tax, including the cities of Alexandria and Fredericksburg as well as Fairfax and Loudoun counties.

The money collected from the plastic bag tax will be used by the county to buy and distribute reusable shopping bags for those living in underserved communities and to support environmental education and litter clean-up programs.

Additionally, the county said in its statement that reusable shopping bags will be offered to recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) at select locations beginning in January 2023.

The county hopes its efforts to expand the use of reusable bags will cut additional costs for residents at the check-out line and benefit the environment.

For more information about the plastic bag tax, check out the Albemarle County website.