New Study by Stagwell's (STGW) The Harris Poll: New Yorkers are Worried about the Waste Crisis but Don't See a Plastic Ban as a Solution

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Sarah Arvizo

Survey found that plastic plays an important role in the lives of New Yorkers across the state

Over 78% of New Yorkers view molecular recycling as a positive way to help solve the waste crisis

NEW YORK, May 7, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — According to a new poll* released today by Stagwell’s (NASDAQ: STGW) The Harris Poll, New Yorkers say they do not see a plastic ban or plastic-free world as a viable solution. Although the waste crisis is a unifying issue and top-tier environmental concern among people across the state, 78% of New Yorkers see innovative recycling methods as a positive solution to the problem and view molecular recycling as a great step towards solving the plastic waste crisis. Around 60% of respondents also believe molecular recycling would ease the burden of recycling and help them live a more sustainable lifestyle. The study surveyed 1,092 New Yorkers across different political parties and demographics.

Plastic plays an essential role in the lives of New Yorkers. About 70% of New Yorkers say plastics make their lives easier, and nearly 60% say they couldn’t imagine a world without them.

“I can’t begin to think of all the single-use plastics that we use, and banning them would eliminate jobs, increase the cost of goods, and make life a lot more difficult for the disabled or elderly,” said a registered voter in the Albany area.

Molecular recycling is a type of material-to-material recycling that can recycle many types of plastic waste that would typically end up in a landfill or incinerator. This type of recycling converts plastic waste back to its building blocks to create brand-new products made from recycled plastic materials with equal or improved quality and performance. The traditional recycling method that is most commonly used today cannot break down or recycle most types of plastic.

After learning more about molecular recycling, over 70% of New Yorkers said they would be bothered if they knew their state representative was working against this new type of recycling. 55% said they would even vote against their state representative in the next election if they knew they were actively working against this new type of recycling. Among registered Democrats, this sentiment is even more pronounced – 63% say they would vote against their state representative.

“I feel the biggest benefit of the new type of recycling is that it is using what would normally be a waste product of the traditional recycling process and not allowing it to go into the landfills,” said a registered voter from the New York City area.

A deeper look at the findings

A plastic ban will hurt consumers, including driving up the cost of goods. 

  • 65% of New Yorkers said that a plastic ban would increase the cost of their everyday goods, and 45% said a plastic ban would make the purchase of everyday goods logistically more difficult. Over 50% of New Yorkers also responded that a plastic ban would negatively impact people with certain disabilities.

State governments have an important role in helping solve the plastic waste crisis.

  • Nearly 70% of New Yorkers wish the state government did more to make plastic recycling easier. This is especially true among African Americans and Hispanics.

New Yorkers want their state legislators to support molecular recycling initiatives; failing to do so could cost them voter support. 

  • About half say they would encourage their friends, family, and social media following to vote against representatives actively working against molecular recycling in the next election.

By supporting molecular recycling initiatives, state legislators could be viewed more positively by constituents and win votes.

  • About 70% of New Yorkers say that a state legislator who supports this new type of recycling cares more about solving the plastic waste crisis and the environment than one who doesn’t. 66% say they would be more likely to vote for a state legislator who supports this new type of recycling, and about half say they would be more likely to actively campaign for one.

*This study was commissioned by Eastman.

About The Harris Poll
The Harris Poll is a global consulting and market research firm that delivers proven intelligence for transformational times. Responsible for one of the longest-running surveys in the United States, Harris Poll provides unique context and social insights based on having analyzed public opinion, motivations, and social sentiment since 1963. It works with clients in three primary areas: building modern corporate reputation, crafting brand strategy and performance tracking, and data-driven thought leadership. It is now part of Stagwell, the challenger holding company built to transform marketing.

About Stagwell
Stagwell (NASDAQ: STGW) is the challenger network built to transform marketing. We deliver scaled creative performance for the world’s most ambitious brands, connecting culture-moving creativity with leading-edge technology to harmonize the art and science of marketing. Led by entrepreneurs, our 13,000+ specialists in 34+ countries are unified under a single purpose: to drive effectiveness and improve business results for their clients. Join us at

About Eastman
Eastman is a global specialty materials company that produces a broad range of products found in items people use every day. For more information, visit

Sarah Arvizo



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