Saturday, February 24, 2007

Ikea bags plastic bags, reps reusable bags… and thereby becomes an official Illadelph crush

Ikea facadeFor some of us here, it began at a very young age. Trips to Ikea's first U.S. store were routine growing up. We’d dive in the plastic balls, eat a few hot dogs, have the occasional meatball-eating contest, and then look forward to getting home so we could assemble the furniture purchases of the day.

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.

ikea plastic bagAnd 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.

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.
Ikea big blue reusable bagHot damn, Ikea — you had at us at “hello.”

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. […]
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]
And it’s high time Philadelphia had one of its very own.

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 []
Bagging the Plastic Bag [Ikea, Official Site, halfway down]

[ Lead photo via Flickr user MikeWebkist ]


Anonymous said...

a plastic bag tax sure makes a ton more sense than a congestion tax...

that said, a company in the business of selling disposable furniture is going to need to do a whole lot more than charge people for plastic bags to make them folks environmental

RJ said...

Those big bags CCD hands out at events are made of paper.

ills said...

We recognize the bags CCD uses aren't plastic -- we were merely suggesting that those same shopping bags (the ones CCD has handed out previously to promote shopping in Center City) present the perfect opportunity for the CCD to jump on board and give out a Philadelphia-branded reusable bag. One that still promotes shopping in Center City, however it's reusable so its promotion-capacity has a much greater lifespan.

Chris said...

they still have a big wasteful parking lot