Today, the nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) released a new poll indicating that over 65% of Americans oppose proposals that seek to ban or place a tax on plastic bags. The national poll, commissioned by CCF and conducted by the Opinion Research Corporation (ORC) in early March, also finds that 85% of Americans agree that “consumers should have the choice of what kind of bag they would like to use.”

Today's poll comes as state and local politicians across the country are clamoring to pass legislation or regulations banning or taxing plastic bags. However, the new ORC polling shows 67% of Americans oppose a five-cent tax, while, 65% oppose a complete ban on plastic bags that would push consumers to purchase canvas or plastic, fabric-like reusable bags. These reusable bags can contain excessive amounts of lead according to a recent study conducted by CCF; and researchers at the University of Arizona have found that reusable bags can serve as a breeding ground for bacteria like E. coli and fecal coliform.

“Consumers should be free to carry home their groceries in whatever bags they choose, without being forced to pay a hefty tax,” said J. Justin Wilson, CCF’s Senior Research Analyst. “Instead of banning or taxing plastic bags, lawmakers should do a better job educating the general public about recycling their plastic bags.”

The poll also found that 93% of Americans report that they already reuse their plastic bags for household tasks such as lining trash cans, cleaning up after pets, and carrying lunches. Many retailers have also established recycling centers outside of stores for used plastic bags.

Wilson continued, “Consumers don’t want to be told how they should take their groceries home. Forcing them to use lead-laden bags potentially harboring bacteria will never be popular public policy.”