Ask Liz: Montgomery County Bag Tax

DC plastic bags

In early May, Montgomery County passed a 5-cent bag tax that will go into effect January 1st, 2012. Viewers have questions about how this new tax will affect shopping in the county, and exactly which bags will be taxed.

So, what bags does the tax cover, and which bags are exempt? We checked with the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection.

There are a few instances where the bag tax may not apply. In self-checkout lanes, customers will be on the honor system to report and pay for the number of bags they use. So if customers choose NOT to use the provided bags in the self-checkout lanes, they will not have to pay.

The tax also won't apply to plastic bags used in the produce section of grocery stores. Newspaper bags will also be exempt. Lastly, it won’t apply to pharmacy bags for carrying prescription drugs.

To read a fact sheet from the county on the new bag tax, click here.

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