Sustainability Environment

Most Americans want national action to reduce use of plastics, poll finds

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Story at a glance

  • A national poll found 81 percent of American voters are in favor of national, state and local policies to draw down on the use of single-use plastics.
  • The poll found 84 percent of respondents are worried about plastic pollution and its impact on the environment.
  • Plastic pollution leakage into waterways has spiked in recent years and is projected to more than double by 2030.

A new poll suggests the majority of Americans back policies to roll back the use of single-use plastics, which typically come in the form of plastic cutlery, shopping bags, take out containers, water bottles and more.  

A national poll conducted by the nonprofit ocean conservation organization Oceana found 81 percent of American voters are in favor of national, state and local policies to draw down on the use of single-use plastics.  

Meanwhile, the poll found 84 percent of respondents are worried about plastic pollution and its impact on the environment and oceans, while 77 percent said companies need to take action to stop producing single-use plastics.  

Nearly 80 percent agreed the U.S. has a responsibility to cut back on its contribution to the “global plastic pollution problem,” as the nation generates more plastic waste than any other country in the world. Along party lines, 91 percent of Democrats supported policy changes to do so, and 71 percent of Republicans agreed.  


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“Americans have spoken: They are worried about the unnecessary plastic choking our oceans and want real policy change on the national level — so we need lawmakers to enact policies that actually stop pollution at the source,” Christy Leavitt, Oceana’s plastics campaign director, said in a statement.  

The poll was conducted by Ipsos and surveyed more than 1,000 American adults between Nov. 5 and Nov. 9. 

The group threw its support behind national legislation introduced by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.) aimed at reducing plastic production and increasing the rate of recycling in the U.S.  

Plastic pollution leakage into waterways has spiked in recent years and is projected to more than double by 2030, according to the United Nations. Plastic makes up about 80 percent of all marine debris, and at least 14 million tons of plastic waste ends up in the ocean every year.  


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