IKEA will begin charging customer five cents for disposable plastic bags. IKEA hopes that this move will be the first step in ending their use altogether. The company said the decision was aimed at reducing the amount of plastic bags that are thrown away. IKEA is believed to be the first major retailer in the U.S. to undertake such a program. Currently, IKEA provides 70 million free bags to its U.S. customers. It expects to cut that by half in the first year and to eventually eliminate the use of the bags.
Concern about widespread pollution caused by the bags has led cities and countries from Ireland to Australia and Rwanda to ban their use. Bangladesh outlawed plastic bags after they blocked drains and contributed to flooding. Taiwan uses 80 percent fewer bags after stores began charging for them.
The company said it will also cut the price of reusable bags to 59 cents from 99 cents to encourage their use. The program will begin on March 15 at the company’s 29 U.S. stores and the money from bag sales will go to American Forests, a conservation group.
Last June, IKEA began charging its U.K. customers for plastic bags, and has reduced its bag consumption by 95 percent, said spokeswoman Mona Astra Liss.
:: Via Reuters