Every goal we’ve accomplished in the last five years has come about because of a simple idea: a plastic bag ban in the Town of Crested Butte. Our founder, Benjamin Swift, came up with the idea when he was a student at Crested Butte Community School. During the Summer of 2015 after watching the documentary Bag It, Benjamin started lobbying for a bag ban. It took over a year, but Benjamin prevailed. Two years later, Crested Butte’s Plastic Bag Ban went into effect as a Town ordinance in September of 2018.
Our success in Crested Butte can be a model for advocacy everywhere. If our small mountain community that relies on tourism for our economy can figure out a bag ban, you can do the same. Our biggest pieces of advice are:
- Get community members on board and excited about the Plastic Bag Ban and ask them to attend government meetings or write to representatives in support of the ban.
- Talk directly to business owners and figure out what their concerns are. Brainstorm solutions that will solve their specific problems.
- Provide alternatives. When it comes down to it, plastic bags are a convenience item. We joined the Boomerang Bags program to provide an alternative for shoppers.
- Compromise! The Plastic Bag Ban we originally authored was more strict than what we ended up with. But if we had kept pushing for the stricter ban, our proposal may have been dead in the water. Our willingness to concede a few points ultimately allowed us to prevail.
If you’re interested in lobbying for a plastic bag ban in your own community and want some more insight, please send us an email at email@example.com.