Poll: Americans support moving away from plastic straws, less sure of ban

Poll: Americans support moving away from plastic straws, less sure of ban
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Most Americans support a recent push to cut back on plastic straw use, though a far small proportion supports a ban, a poll out Friday reports.

Nearly 80 percent of respondents said they strongly or somewhat support companies shifting toward biodegradable straws and nearly as many — 75 percent — supported businesses only providing plastic straws when asked, according to the survey from BuzzFeed News and market research firm Ipsos.

The straws are a source of plastic pollution that often clogs waterways and harms wildlife. 

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The online poll, which surveyed 2,000 adults nationwide from August 14-16, found, however, that respondents were less supportive of government intervention on straw use.

Some 48 percent said they supported local bans on plastic straws, including 56 percent of Democrats and 41 percent of Republicans, compared to 42 percent overall who oppose one.

BuzzFeed and Ipsos's research found that nearly 130 million plastic straws are used per day, a number far below a commonly cited statistic of 500 million.

The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.

A recent environmental movement against plastic straws' use has led to national retailers ranging from Starbucks to McDonalds to pledge to get rid of the product. A number of municipalities and states have followed suit, passing bans on the sale or use of plastic straws in restaurants.

Seattle was the first major city to ban plastic straws and utensils in July.

On Thursday, California moved a step closer to passing a statewide ban. A bill approved by lawmakers that awaits the signature of Gov. Jerry Brown (D) would stop full-service, dine-in restaurants from offering any single-use plastic straws to customers unless asked.