For the rest, the Ikea initiation arrived in college.
And even now, years removed from all that, we still heart Ikea for everything from its brilliantly inexpensive essentials (read wooden hangers - 8 for $3, remarkably hard-to-break wine glasses - 6 for $5, a three-piece stainless steel cookware set for $10, etc.) to more substantial items like an eminently usable laptop table, mattress-saving mattress pads and deck deck outfittings.
Our affection for their products (and their proximity to John’s) notwithstanding, it was nice to be reminded — after they dropped the ball with their so-called first “urban store,” which opened in Philadelphia in 2004 and had zero positive urban design components to it — why we really want to boff Ikea.
And that reminder came on Tuesday when Ikea announced it would no longer be offering plastic shopping bags for free to its customers.
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 1000 years.Hot damn, Ikea — you had at us at “hello.”
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.
Honestly, we think Philadelphia should make like Ireland and tax the shit out of plastic bags. Or — what the hell — let our ban-happy City Council at ‘em and just ban the bastards outright. (Seriously, both should, at the very least, be discussed as possibilities to determine if and how much the city has to benefit from a plastic bag tax or ban. An amount, we would assert, is a lot.)
Moreover, reusable bags are undeniably sexy.
So, what is the answer, paper or plastic? NEITHER! Look into purchasing reusable bags or reusing your paper or plastic bags at the store. Reusing a bag meant for just one use has a big impact. […]And it’s high time Philadelphia had one of its very own.
In New York City alone, one less grocery bag per person per year would reduce waste by five million pounds and save $250,000 in disposal costs. [EPA]
Center City District, Reading Terminal Market, Food Trust — we are looking at you.
Ikea to America: your wasteful ways make our beautiful Scandinavian forests cry [Newswire]
Ikea to cut its customers’ plastic bag consumption in half in one year to 35 million, the equivalent of planting 1.5 million trees [AP / Philadelphia Inquirer]
More than 380 billion plastic bags, sacks and wraps are consumed in the U.S. each year [Reusablebags.com]
Bagging the Plastic Bag [Ikea, Official Site, halfway down]
[ Lead photo via Flickr user MikeWebkist ]