Swedish flat-pack furniture seller Ikea will stop offering plastic or paper bags at any of its US stores from this month.
In March last year Ikea set a goal of reducing its US stores’ plastic bag consumption by half, from a whopping 70 million to 35 million, in 12 months.
Initially the plan was to push customers into using reusable bags or no bags, or charge five cents for using a plastic bag (with the proceeds going to not-for-profit conservation organisation American Forest).
Plastic bag reduction at Ikea’s US stores is at 92 per cent and the company has now decided to withdraw the option of buying a plastic bag or paper bags altogether.
The overall figures for plastic bag consumption in the US are still shocking. The Environmental Protection Agency says the US consumes more than 380 billion plastic bags, sacks and wraps each year. Each year, Americans also throw away some 100 billion polyethylene plastic bags, and less than one per cent of them are recycled.
Single-use bags made of high-density polyethylene are the main environmental culprit, taking up to a thousand years to degrade.