Since we are coming up on the 1st year of Plastic Bag Fees (Bag Tax) in Howard County I thought I would reach out to the County to see how much money has been collected to date. The report they sent me (broken out by vendor – as I requested) shows that to date $553,850.45 has been collected by the County so far over the past year. (Keep in mind that businesses have until 9/30 to submit the latest information and payments)

The BIG amounts (top 3 businesses) of this fee have been collected from the following:

  • Giant: $109,186.28 (7 business entities)
  • Walmart: $108,981.69 (2 business entities)
  • Target: $45,897.03 (2 business entities)

Other notables: NAI SATURN EASTERN LLC ($39,114.48) and Harris Teeter ($36,611.73).

Here is the full report sent to me (Bag Fee totals by customer 9.22.21). I want to say THANKS to Mark Miller in the Office of Public Information on assisting me with this request.


Keep in mind the $500K+ is what has been collected by Howard County Government. Shoppers in Howard County have actually paid close to $700K (because businesses get to keep 20% of the fee and only are required to remit 80% of the fee to the County – “Retain one cent out of every five cents collected per bag to cover administrative costs.”).

I will be interested to see if County Government or the County Council puts out an annual report with more details in the near future. By more details, I hope to see:

  • The total amount of money collected by the county for the year.
  • The total number of plastic bags distributed to customers reported by vendor.
  • The total amount of money each vendor was able to keep from the plastic bag fee/bag tax.
    • Although you can make a really good estimate as businesses get to keep 20% of the fee collected. So if you take Giant…they paid 109,186.28 so they kept somewhere near $27,296.57 (spread between the 7 business entities).
  • The reports above also broken down by quarter to show if the numbers are reducing over time (since “Remittances are due for the quarter on or before your last business day of each calendar quarter (3/31, 6/30, 9/30, 12/31“).

Have other suggestions….let me know in the comments.

Also of note…there is new legislation about the Plastic Bag Fee (Bill No. 67 -2021): AN ACT altering the date by which a store must remit the fees collected for disposable bags to the Director of Finance; and generally relating to disposable bag fees in the County.

This would be the new proposed schedule:

To be honest this is not a big deal and gives businesses a little more time to get their information correct before submitting it to the county. This should be a slam dunk APPROVAL for this legislation.

I will keep an eye out for additional information from Howard County Government or the Howard County Council on this topic.

Scott E


  1. So the county makes 500 grand and the stores make a nice profit(on a product they used to give away for feee)
    So it’s a money grab and nothing to do with the environment because its evident most people think
    plastic bags are real convenient and are worth the 5 cents.
    And if the intent was that people would not use bags because of the 5 cents well maybe a few haven’t
    but when you make 500k that’s a LOT of bags being sold.
    If it was about the environment they would just ban them(which I hope they don’t do because if you grocery shop in the rain paper bags get wet are are harder to carry)

  2. I have had a strange thing happen at Target in relation to bags. I usually take my own, but on occasion, I have gone in without bags. I don’t shop very often. Every time I take my own bags, I am instructed that I must do my own bagging because employees are not allowed to touch the bags due to Covid….but yet they pick up the bags and toss them to area at the end of the register? They have no problem putting my items in their plastic bags and charging the 5 cents. I go the the grocery store and Costco weekly and have never had this issue with bagging. The situation at Target holds up the lines because if I have to bag my own merchandise, I can’t be checking out with my credit/debit card. I don’t mind bagging at all, I don’t mind paying the 5 cents for bags if I forget my own, but the people behind me in line at Target get a little huffy when the lines slow down. I’m just saying that something is “odd” about Target?

  3. I am curious how many people just go to self checkout and choose the zero bags to purchase option to avoid this “fee” (which is just another word for tax). There is no system in check to count the number of bags being taken so there have some that fall through the cracks. Think of how much more tax could be collected if self checkout was better monitored and those bags were better accounted for.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here