IKEA U.S. ‘Bag The Plastic Bag’

IkeaCSRWire

Starting March 15th All IKEA U.S. Stores will Charge Five Cents for
Plastic Bags and Endorse Purchase of Reusable ‘Big Blue’ IKEA Bag

It happens everyday. We make a
few purchases and pop them into a plastic bag. Or a few bags. Actually,
it’s quite staggering when you think about it. The amount of plastic
bags we use and toss is overwhelming.  According to the Environmental
Protection Agency, the U.S. consumes over 380 billion plastic bags, sacks
and wraps each year. Each year, Americans throw away some 100 billion
polyethylene plastic bags, and less than one percent of them are recycled.
Single-use bags made of high-density polyethylene are the main culprit.
Once brought into existence to tote purchases, they will accumulate and
persist on our planet for up to a thousand years.   

IKEA U.S. is taking a stand. With the goal of reducing plastic bag litter
that is strangling our planet, IKEA will no longer be offering customers
free plastic bags. Beginning March 15, every plastic bag at every IKEA
U.S. store across the nation will cost five cents. All proceeds* from this
‘program year’ bag campaign will go to American Forests, the nation’s
oldest non-profit citizens conservation organization, to plant trees to
restore forests and offset CO2 emissions.   Also, to help alter customer
behavior and endorse environmentally responsible habits, IKEA will be
selling its iconic reusable ‘Big Blue Bag’ for 59 cents, a cost that has
been reduced from 99 cents.

The blue bag, while also made of plastic, is durable, strong and roomy.
Because one sturdy reusable bag will replace hundreds of single-use bags,
IKEA hopes customers will bring it along to carry purchases when they shop
at IKEA stores and elsewhere.

"We realize that our ‘Bag the Plastic Bag Program’ is a small step.  But
we know our customers want to help and support the sustainability of our
planet – for today – and for the future of our children.  IKEA believes
home is the most important place in the world.  And what more
important home is there than our planet?  This program lets our customers
know we have our stake in the ground and are committed to continuing to be
an environmentally responsible company,"  says Pernille Spiers-Lopez,
president, IKEA North America.   "IKEA has always been a home furnishings
retailer for the many people. This program reaches out to everyone and
embraces the idea that together we can do a lot!"

With the launch of this initiative, IKEA becomes one of the first major
U.S. retailers to charge customers for plastic bags with the goal of
completely eliminating their use in all IKEA stores.  IKEA projects that
the number of plastic bags used by their U.S. customers will be reduced by
at least 50% from 70 million to 35 million in the first year.  This program
was launched in IKEA stores in the UK in late Spring 2006, and reduction
has been a monumental 95 percent. Also, blue bag purchases were increased,
since IKEA encouraged usage for a multitude of purposes.

"IKEA is a global environmental pace-setter, as I point out in my book
Green to Gold," says author and IKEA advisor, Daniel C. Esty,
Hillhouse Professor of Environmental Law and Policy at Yale University.
"They have been a leader in their supply chain, responsible forest
products sourcing, and recycling efforts.  The plastic reduction program
is another notable example of IKEA’s ability to integrate their
environmental and business strategies; engaging the customer to reduce
pollution and litter while minimizing unnecessary materials."

Adds IKEA advisor and co-author of Green to Gold, Andrew Winston,
"My work with leading companies tells me that IKEA is one of the global
leaders in managing environmental responsibility. The plastic bag program
is just one step in a long line of initiatives the company has undertaken.
It also shows how broadly the company thinks about environmental challenges
and how customers can help."

IKEA has been at the forefront in a number of environmental initiatives.
IKEA specialists work diligently to promote healthy forestry practices.
Wood used for IKEA products comes from well managed forests and not from
intact, natural or old-growth forests.

Other notable programs include: IWAY audits, a code of conduct for
partnership with suppliers around the world where suppliers are measured
on health, safety, social and environmental concerns. When developing
products, IKEA abides by the strictest requirements for chemicals and
substances in the world, regardless of where the products are sold.

Plastic bags create litter, increase landfill, endanger wildlife and
create ugly, unsafe clutter in our lives and in the environment. They end
up in trash piles, or oceans…or trees…and they take forever to
disappear. IKEA stands committed to stopping plastic bag waste.

"This program represents another solid step in environmental leadership
for IKEA," says Deborah Gangloff, executive director, American Forests.
"The benefits in terms of waste reduction alone will be enormous. And
while this program phases out into ‘no plastic bag usage’, the millions of
trees planted in environmental restoration projects will help clean our
air, purify our water, provide wildlife habitat and improve the quality of
life for all people."

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