Disposable Plastic Bag Tax

Plastic Bag Tax Effective July 1, 2022

The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors approved a disposable plastic bag tax of five cents ($0.05) per plastic bag that will be effective July 1, 2022. Loudoun County joins other jurisdictions in the region that have adopted or are currently considering a disposable plastic bag tax to reduce plastic pollution in the region. Revenues generated by the tax can only be spent on programs that address litter and pollution or help low-income residents obtain durable reusable shopping bags free of charge. Read the ordinance here.

Lightweight plastic bags are commonly found in waterways as litter and remain as a pollutant. Unlike natural materials, plastic never completely degrades. It breaks down over time into tiny pieces called microplastics that can end up in food and water and can harm wildlife. Learn more on reducing waste and recycling

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What You Need to Know About the Tax

  • The new tax will be collected on plastic bags used for purchases made at grocery stores, convenience stores and drugstores countywide, including those within the county’s incorporated towns. 
  • The tax does not apply to restaurants, food banks, farmers markets or clothing stores. It also does not apply to:
    • Durable plastic bags that are specifically designed and manufactured for multiple reuse.
    • Plastic bags that are solely used to wrap, contain, or package ice cream, meat, fish, poultry, produce, unwrapped bulk food items, or perishable food items in order to avoid damage or contamination.
    • Plastic bags used to carry dry cleaning or prescription drugs.
    • Multiple plastic bags sold in packages and intended for use as garbage, pet waste or leaf removal bags.
  • To compensate for the cost of collecting, accounting for, and remitting the tax, retailers are permitted to keep a portion of the tax collected, accounting for the discount in the form of a deduction when submitting their tax return.

Bring Your Own Bag

  • Shoppers can avoid the bag fee by bringing their own bags. 
  • Tips for remembering your reusable bags:
    • Write “Bring Bags” at the top of your grocery list.
    • Post a reminder note by your door.
    • Hang your bags by your door or put them back in your car as soon as you empty and clean them.
    • Store or clip an extra bag in your purse or backpack.
    • Keep a spare bag at work.
    • Put your coupons in your bag.
    • Put a reminder in your phone to bring your bags if you regularly shop on a set day of the week. 

Resources for Impacted Businesses

The Loudoun County Department of Economic Development has information for businesses on the plastic bag tax and will continue to work with retailers to help them prepare to collect the tax beginning July 1, 2022.