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Skip the Bag, Save the River

Suspect a business to be in violation of the Bag Law?
Leave a tip or call (202) 407-1277.

The Anacostia River Clean Up and Protection Act ('Bag Law') requires all District businesses that sell food or alcohol charge five cents for each disposable paper or plastic carryout bag – whether or not food or alcohol products are purchased in the store.

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 goes to The Anacostia River Clean Up and Protection Fund, The law also requires that reusable paper and plastic bags meet specific material and labeling requirements [PDF].

The District’s Bag Law is the first of its kind in the U.S. Since the law took effect on January 1, 2010, District businesses have seen a drastic reduction in bag usage and environmental clean-up groups witnessed fewer bags polluting DC waterways.

The ultimate goal of the law is to change consumer behavior by encouraging District residents to use reusable bags, thereby reducing bag pollution in waterways. Revenue is deposited into the The Anacostia River Clean Up and Protection Fund, a special purpose fund managed by the District Department of the Environment (DDOE). The fund is used to implement watershed education programs, stream restoration, trash retention projects and to purchase and distribute reusable bags.

Press Information:

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The Law

About DDOE's Implementing Regulations:

On August 13, 2010, the final regulations on retail establishment carryout bags (Chapter 10 of Title 21 of the DC Municipal Regulations) were published in the D.C. Register, 57 DCR 7208. These regulations clarify how DDOE implements and enforces the requirements of the Anacostia River Clean Up and Protection Act of 2009.

Bag Law Resources

Resources for Businesses

Businesses collecting the bag fee are to report their net bag fee collections on their sales and use tax returns - FR-800M series forms - to the DC Office of Tax and Revenue. Businesses are not required to report the total number of bags subject to the fee or the $.01 and $.02 allowances. Retailers should retain records of the number of bags and the amount of fees collected to support their reports of net disposable bag fee collections for auditing purposes.

Resources for Residents

For more information please contact Kate Judson (kate.judson@dc.govor 202-407-1277) or Christopher Kibler (christopher.kibler@dc.gov or 202-535-2239).

Press Coverage

Partners Include: CVS/pharmacy, Giant, Harris Teeter, Safeway

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