A large majority of American consumers opposes efforts by big-government bureaucrats to regulate the type of bags they use to carry groceries home. These poll numbers arrive at a critical time when cash-strapped states and municipalities are trying to plug budget holes with burdensome plastic-bag taxes.

According to the poll conducted by Opinion Research Corporation in early March, more than 65% of Americans “oppose proposals that seek to ban or place a tax on plastic bags.” Specifically, the poll reveals:

93% of Americans report that they already reuse their regular plastic bags for household tasks such as lining trash cans, cleaning up after pets, and carrying lunches.
 

85% of Americans agree that “consumers should have the choice of what kind of bag they would like to use.”
 

67% of Americans oppose a five-cent tax on plastic grocery bags.
 

65% oppose a complete ban on plastic bags that would push consumers to purchase canvas or plastic, fabric-like reusable bags.

“Consumers should be free to carry home their groceries in whatever bags they choose, without being forced to pay a hefty tax,” we told the media Tuesday. “Instead of banning or taxing plastic bags, lawmakers should do a better job educating the general public about recycling their plastic bags.”

Some lawmakers have cloaked their revenue-generating schemes under the guise of going green. Ironically, such efforts to reduce ecological harm might actually trade one environmental threat for another.

Our January report showed that eco-chic reusable bags often contain excessive levels of lead, which can be toxic to the environment (and to your family). Even more troubling, our December 2010 polling found that 56% of Americans say they “are not at all aware that their reusable grocery bags may contain lead and bacteria.”

“Forcing [consumers] to use lead-laden bags potentially harboring bacteria will never be popular public policy,” we are warning lawmakers tempted to side with special interests over their own constituents who have made their concerns clear. “Consumers don’t want to be told how they should take their groceries home.”