IKEA hears customers, respects environment

This is the war on plastic bags.

These seemingly innocuous grocery carriers are consumed at a rate of over 380 billion bags per year. Almost none of these are recycled, but they are instead buried in landfills, left behind as litter, or dumped into oceans.

And while marketing campaigns and a proliferation of reusable bags have been popping up at resellers around the nation, such as at Pittsburgh mainstays Giant Eagle and Whole Foods, most are still being offered as for-pay alternatives to the still free paper and plastic bags. Whole Foods, while still providing paper bags free of charge, stopped providing plastic bags in April, and gives a discount to customers who bring their own reusable shopping bags.

However, back in March 2007, IKEA started charging customers to use their disposable plastic bags when shopping at the build-it-yourself home furnishings superstore. At a nickel per bag, all of which was donated to charity, customers had the option of paying to harm the environment, or paying 59 cents for a reusable IKEA bag.

Now a year and a half later, IKEA has seen a 92 percent reduction in disposable plastic bag usage, and by having customers vote with their pocketbooks, have removed the plastic bags entirely from their stores. We completely support IKEA’s strongly measured customer support in their decision to entirely remove plastic bags from their customer’s shopping experience.

We hope more stores will follow the lead of Whole Foods and IKEA as they move away from plastic bags to more eco-friendly options. And anyway, we always had trouble getting our Klippan sofas and Billy bookcases into those little environment-destroying plastic bags.