Five-cent taxes on single-use plastic bags are spreading across Virginia’s more urban localities. On Saturday, Arlington County and the City of Alexandria adopted the local tax ordinances, while Fairfax County adopted a similar ordinance on September 14. The taxes take effect on January 1, 2022.
“Arlington is proud to take this step to reduce plastic bag waste in our community and to do so with our regional partners,” Arlington County Board Chair Matt de Ferranti said in a press release. “We have long sought the legal authority for this small fee as a way to protect our environment and become a more sustainable community. We look forward to working with residents and neighbors on implementation.”
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted nine to one to ask staff to draft an ordinance for a five-cent single-use plastic bag tax for presentation to the board in September; part of the drafting process includes a period of public outreach.
Supervisor James Walkinshaw introduced the proposal on Tuesday. He said, “There was an environmental survey of the Chesapeake Bay done several years ago and they discovered that the floor of the Chesapeake Bay is littered with plastic bags which is disrupting the habitat and ecosystem of the floor of the Chesapeake Bay, not to mention the micro-particles that come from torn plastic bags that unfortunately make their way into the food supply and the water supply and that all of us are ingesting.”
Gubernatorial candidate Delegate Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights) agrees that schools need to be reopened immediately. But he says that’s not enough — policymakers need to address learning losses. Districts like Fairfax County have reported spikes in failing grades. Parents and medical studies have expressed concern over the long-term harms caused by a year of virtual learning. Cox is calling for tutoring programs to help students recover academically, and he says he is willing to be one of those tutors.
Joining the ranks of other urban jurisdictions, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors (FCBOS) voted nine-to-one on Tuesday to enact a gun ban in city buildings, parks, and at or near permitted events. Also on Tuesday, the Loudoun County Board (LCBOS) of Supervisors voted four-to five against evaluating a potential ordinance controlling gun noise.