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A Greener Shopping Bag

Reusable Shopping Bag

No free plastic!

That's IKEA's position. The Swedish retailer charges customers five cents for every plastic bag they use to pack their purchases. Then, they donate the proceeds to the non-profit American Forests to plant trees and offset CO2 emissions.

Each year, U.S. consumers use 100 billion polyethylene bags. And less than one percent are recycled. That leaves behind a mountain of plastic bags that languish in landfills or tumble along our highways.

Plastics don't degrade as easily as other organic materials. They stick around awhile. How long? Imagine a medieval shopper, 1100 A.D. He rides off down to the butcher shop, buys a slab of beef, and packs it in a polyethylene bag. When he gets home, he tosses the bag.

That bag would still be with us today, more than nine hundred years later. Fortunately, plastic wasn't around back then.

Reusable bags, bottles and other containers are a great idea. And IKEA's "Big Blue Bag" costs less than an order of their Swedish meatballs.

So next time you shop, take IKEA's lead and take your own bag. Because of its environmental toll, there really is no free plastic.

Script by Dan Maxwell

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