Starting this week, Albemarle County will begin distributing free reusable bags to WIC and SNAP benefit recipients to help offset the cost of the five cent plastic bag tax, which went into effect in both Albemarle County and the city of Charlottesville on Jan. 1.

Bags will be available to WIC and SNAP beneficiaries on these dates and locations:

  • Albemarle County Office Building, Department of Social Services lobby, Fifth St., Charlottesville on Monday, April 3 to Friday, April 7, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Greenwood Community Center, 865 Greenwood Road, Crozet on Tuesday, April 11 and Thursday, April 13, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Yancey Community Center, 7625 Porters Road, Esmont, April 10 to 28, Monday to Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
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People are eligible for two bags per adult, and a current EBT card is required for pickup. Bags are first come first served, while supplies last.

After those dates, any remaining bags will be distributed from the DSS lobby on an ongoing basis.

City residents who receive SNAP and WIC benefits can get reusable bags directly from their social services coordinator.

Folks who have spare bags to share can put them into one of the Give One, Take One boxes in the lobby of either Albemarle County Office Building, on McIntire and 5th Streets. There, anyone in need of a bag, not just SNAP and WIC recipients, can take one.

The local chapter of the Sierra Club is also collecting and distributing reusable bag donations, at the Dogwood Refillery in the Seminole Square SHopping Center and Refill Renew at McIntire Plaza.

Both the city and the county have set up web pages with information about the tax, bag distribution programs.

The state also has more information on different circumstances in which the tax may, or may not apply.

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Wait, what plastic bag tax? Why a plastic bag tax?

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Erin O'Hare

I'm Charlottesville Tomorrow's neighborhoods reporter. I’ve never met a stranger and love to listen, so, get in touch with me here. If you’re not already subscribed to our free newsletter, you can do that here, and we’ll let you know when there’s a fresh story for you to read. I’m looking forward to getting to know more of you.