The plastic bags currently sitting behind the counter of the Fort Lewis College Bookstore are the last ones that cashiers will provide to its scholar customers. In May, Follett Higher Education Group, owner of FLC’s bookstore, instated a ban on plastic bags in the 930 bookstores it manages nationwide.
Brook Ingle, who has managed the bookstore for three years, said that going forward, students will have to bring in their own reusable bags or purchase bags at the store.
Ingle said Follett’s decision had been motivated by both smart marketing and genuine “environmentalism – it’s especially huge across this college campus, as well as campuses throughout the country.”
Ingle said that customers would not be fined if they used their own plastic bags, and insisted, laughingly, that the store would never report such customers to the police.
“Have you met our campus police? They’re pretty laid-back,” she said.
The FLC bookstore joins Los Angeles; San Francisco; Seattle; Pasadena, Calif.; Portland, Ore.; and Telluride in banning plastic bags.
Durango’s City Council is evaluating taking action on bags and has taken under consideration various alternatives, including a ban or a fee.
Opponents of bagbans argue customers should have the right to choose and question the ultimate effectiveness of bans in reducing environmental degradation.
Supporters point to the tangible reduction in bag waste, as well as the symbolic significance of taking communitywide action.
Both sides routinely cite research supporting their positions.
The FLC bookstore sells reusable bags.
On one wall hangs a $26 red flower tote bag with imitation leather accents, made up of cotton, polyester and polyvinyl chloride; next to it hangs a light-blue cotton tote back with “Fort Lewis College” emblazoned in yellow lettering for less than $10.
Both bags were made in China.