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March 2, 2007

IKEA to charge 5 cents for a plastic bag to put your purchases in


Starting March 15, that's the new policy.

So either bring your own or buy one of their Big Blue Bags (above), which in conjunction with the company's drive to decrease the amount of plastic waste in everyday life, is now available for 59 cents, down from its previous 99 cents.

Jura Koncius wrote about this new environmental initiative in a story which appeared in yesterday's Washington Post, and follows.

    Blue Turns Green

    The latest environmental message from Ikea: BYOB.

    Starting March 15, the home furnishings chain will charge an additional five cents to shoppers who want a bag with their purchase.

    "The average family of four uses 1,500 plastic shopping bags a year," said Mona Astra Liss, spokeswoman for the 29 American Ikea stores. "We are trying to reach out to our customers and the public at large to make them aware of the amount of plastic waste going on." According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans use more than 380 billion plastic bags a year.

    Kathy Grannis, manager of media relations for the National Retail Federation, said Ikea is the first major retailer in this country to charge for bags. Some grocery stores offer incentives for shoppers who use their own bags but haven't yet started charging for new bags.

    The Sweden-based chain has a record of being eco-conscious, buying wood for its products from well-managed forests and setting up programs to recycle Christmas trees. The new effort is designed to encourage shoppers to use no bags or bring their own totes from home. Stores now will sell a reusable Big Blue Bag of durable plastic, previously priced at 99 cents, for 59 cents.

    The program, originated in Ikea's British stores last year, reduced consumption of bags at those locations by 95 percent, Liss said. Ikea will donate the first year's proceeds from U.S. sales of the five-cent bags to American Forests, a Washington-based conservation nonprofit.

March 2, 2007 at 12:01 PM | Permalink


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Rock on, Ikea! I'm all for any nudge in the "green" direction and every little bit helps.

We reuse our plastic grocery bags for trashcan liners at home and take the excess ones back to HEB for recycling but we're also trying to get into the habit of taking our own canvas tote bags when we go shopping.

Posted by: Rob O. | Mar 3, 2007 11:27:50 AM

Ikea is also the only USA retailer that will take back CFL lightbulbs, which contain mercury, for recycling. I just did a post on it:

And, just for fun, you may enjoy this post I did way back on an Ikea experience, where I was VERY glad to have the .99 bag (though it was a smaller version then). http://doodle-y-doo.blogspot.com/2005/05/day-in-life-of-my-brain.html

Ikea really is doing some very good things for the environment--and also for consumers who can't afford high-end items but still want quality and style. IMHO.


Posted by: LisaJay | Mar 3, 2007 11:04:44 AM

Last summer was an eye-opener for me. Was reminded several times (by my German in-laws) to bring bags for the groceries. Otherwise, bags are ( I think) 50 cent (they say cent, not cents) which is still about 75-cents to us. -*If* they had bags (at the store), they'd look at you as through you were from Mars (or, the USA) when you'd ask for one... or two....

I got pretty good at just carrying stuff out to the car or using a box.

Posted by: honico | Mar 3, 2007 2:37:31 AM

Ohmigod SW. That is such a good idea.

god I love this site and its commentors.

Posted by: IB | Mar 2, 2007 11:37:15 PM

"The average family of four uses 1,500 plastic shopping bags a year," Grief! No wonder people think somthing should be done.

We use folding plastic crates, which apart from reducing the waste, stop the shopping falling over and spilling all over the boot(trunk).

Posted by: Skipweasel | Mar 2, 2007 3:42:41 PM

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