Celebrating over 10 years of reducing single-use plastic pollution, improving water quality, and creating educational experiences on the Anacostia River. 5¢ Bag Fee by the Numbers - Read More>>
Purpose and Impact of the Bag Law
The Anacostia River Clean Up and Protection Act of 2009 – commonly known as the “Bag Law” – requires that District businesses that sell food or alcohol charge a $0.05 fee for each paper and plastic bag distributed with any purchase, with certain exemptions.
Revenues from the fee go to The Anacostia River Clean Up and Protection Fund (Bag Fund) and have been used to implement a variety of educational, trash capture, and stream restoration projects throughout the Anacostia Watershed. In addition, these funds are used for the purchase and distribution of reusable bags to low-income and elderly populations throughout the District.
For more information on Bag Fund revenue sources and spending, read the annual Bag Fund summary reports.
Learn more about the purpose of the Bag Law and its impact on trash in the District’s communities and water bodies.
Law and Regulations
The Bag Law took effect on September 23, 2009 and the associated fees for bag usage began on January 1, 2010. The final regulations were published in the DC Register on August 13, 2010. These regulations clarify how DOEE implements and enforces the requirements of the law.
Implementing the Bag Law at your Business
Businesses that sell food or alcohol in DC must charge a $.05 bag fee and remit a portion of these fees to the Office of Tax and Revenue. The business retains one cent (or two cents if it offers a rebate when customers bring their own bag), and the remaining three or four cents go to The Anacostia River Clean Up and Protection Fund.
Businesses must remit bag fee collections to the Office of Tax and Revenue on their Sales and Use tax return FR-800 by filing at MyTax.DC.gov. Signage explaining the Bag Law is available and it has been translated into multiple additional languages.
Read DOEE’s comprehensive guide (also attached below) to learn more about the requirements of the Bag Law and how to implement them at your business.
Did you know that you can directly support the Anacostia River Clean Up and Protection Fund? You can make a contribution directly from your District income tax form or purchase a unique “Save the River” commemorative license plate.
The Anacostia River Clean Up and Protection Fund is not the only program working toward the improvement of the Anacostia Watershed, there are many more initiatives underway as well.
- In praise of…charging for plastic bags - The Guardian (August 21, 2013)
- District Awards Seven Community Organizations $1 Million in Revenue from Bag Charges to Restore Local Waterways – DOEE Press Release (July 13, 2011)
- What Exactly Is A Trash Wheel, And Does the Anacostia River Need One?
- Distrit tax leads to sharp decrease in plastic bag use (Feb 7, 2018)
- How the District of Columbia Spends Its Bag Tax Revenue - WUSA 9