Sales tax on school supplies takes a holiday in August

With a new school year more than a month away, school shopping may not be on parents’ minds. But the upcoming sales tax holiday can help Virginia residents get a jump-start on the task.

A statewide sales tax holiday on school supplies runs Aug. 1 to 3. During that time, school supplies costing less than $20 each, clothes and footwear will be exempt from sales tax. The tax rate is generally 5.3 percent for goods and 2.5 percent for groceries.

For information and a complete list of qualifying supplies, visit www.tax.virginia.gov.

County sees a slight drop in rate of recycling

Prince William County’s recycling rate for 2013 was 40.5 percent, down slightly from the previous year’s rate of 41.3 percent, and below both the state’s rate (41.5 percent) and Northern Virginia’s rate (47.3 percent). The county’s rate, however, exceeded the 25 percent minimum mandated by the state.

The recycling rate is essentially determined by the amount of materials diverted from the waste stream to be reused, recycled or composted, according to information from the county’s Solid Waste Division. Last year’s drop in recycling was attributed to a reduction in the amount of scrap metal recycled and an increase in trash production.

“These results indicate that the countywide recycling rate remains relatively flat,” Prince William County Recycling Program Manager Scott MacDonald said in a statement. “The County will need to take additional steps in the future if we want to continue progress in our waste reduction program.”

— Compiled by Sarah Lane