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IKEA's US Stores to Dispose of Disposable Bags This Year

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One of the first major stores in the US to initiate a surcharge per plastic bag, IKEA, has announced that they will stop providing customers with disposable bags entirely in October of this year.

The decision to ban the bag in the States comes on the heels of the same move the Swedish-based furniture and home design store implemented in their UK and Australia stores last year.

Since instituting the 5 cent per bag charge in March 2007, disposable bag use at US IKEA stores has decreased by 92 percent. That's a decrease unexpected by even the folks at IKEA, who according to their press release had initially "set a goal of reducing its US stores' plastic bag consumption by 50%; from 70 million to 35 million plastic bags in the first year." With more than mission accomplished, the next step is reusable-only bags. Customers shopping at IKEA stores, like those in Burbank, Carson, Covina, and Costa Mesa, must bring their own bag, purchase a reusable IKEA bag (pictured) for 59 cents, or go bagless.

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The LA Times' Emerald City blog looks beyond what this means for the environment and for the customer, and looks at what a bag ban will do for IKEA, and determines that it's a definite win, with benefits to the company like positive press, getting customers to pay into their corporate donations to non-profits programs (IKEA donated the nickels from each disposable bag sold to American Forests), and earn profits on sales of their iconic blue and yellow reusable bag.

Motions to ban disposable bags are cropping up in boardrooms and city halls across the country, and in the state. Recently, the city of Santa Monica began to consider a comprehensive bag ban and voted unanimously on February 26th to ban plastic ones, and state-level lawmakers have proposed a per-bag surcharge much like IKEA's.

Photo by jennsters via Flickr