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According to a recent telephone survey conducted by Fairbank, Maslin, Maulin, and Associates, 58 percent of California residents are against a proposed 25-cent tax on plastic grocery bags currently under consideration by the state legislature.
Opposition is higher yet in coastal Los Angeles and San Diego counties, where over two out of every three respondents say they don't want the tax, which could wind up costing the average family about $400 annually, according to Progressive Bag Affiliates (PBA) of the American Chemistry Council (ACC), a group formed to promote the responsible use and recycling of plastic bags.
"The tax on plastic bags would be added to the already soaring food and energy bills families throughout California are facing with each trip to the grocery store," said PBA director Shari Jackson. "While reusable bags may be an option for some, as a practical matter, not everyone can be expected to carry reusable bags. This tax can have a tremendous financial impact on many Californians, especially those that rely on public transportation."
Plastic grocery and retail bags are fully recyclable, the PBA points out, so rather than enacting a new tax that affects families already having trouble making ends meet, policymakers should embrace such practical solutions as recycling, reuse campaigns, and educating Californians about litter prevention.
"California's year-old plastic bag recycling law needs time to work before legislators jump to drastic measures such as taxes and bag bans that will hurt families and business owners in an already struggling economy," notes Jackson.
In the wake of the California law, other U.S. municipalities are now pushing in-store plastic bag recycling programs, including New York City, which last week passed a law providing access to plastic bag recycling at thousands of stores throughout the five boroughs. Additionally, Illinois, Rhode Island, and New York, taking their cue from California, have begun providing statewide access to plastic bag recycling.
The poll took place from June 28 to July 2 among a sample population of 700 California registered voters.