SINGAPORE – IKEA is completely stopping sales of disposable plastic bags at its two outlets in Singapore from 23 March 2013, and encouraging customers to either bring their own bags or purchase the blue reusable IKEA shopping bags instead.
The price of IKEA’s blue reusable bags will be lowered from S$1.20 for large bags to $0.90, and $0.60 to $0.30 for the smaller ones, to encourage customers to make the switch.
The Swedish home furnishing retailer started charging customers for plastic shopping bags in 2007 as part of its move to promote sustainable living, and pledged to donate proceeds from the sales of plastic bags to fund eco-education programs by World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).
Since then, IKEA has donated close to S$550,000 - raised from 18 million pieces of plastic bags saved during the period - to support conservation programmes.
From 2013, with the cost savings from eliminating disposable plastic bags, IKEA Singapore is pledging a further $200,000 to WWF Singapore to fund its eco-education programmes.
Christian Rojkjaer, Managing Director of Ikano Retail Asia, said, “The broad and willing acceptance and support from our customers when we started charging for plastic bags in 2007 is an affirmation for our belief that the people living in Singapore act rational and are reasonable, mature and sensible and they should get more credit for it.
"This initiative is the next natural step for us to further reduce the use and consumption of disposable plastic bags in Singapore and at the same time support change in people's everyday behaviour for a positive sustainable impact on the environment,” he added.
Singapore Environment Council's Executive Director Jose Raymond said, praised IKEA for taking the initiative in the absence of any legislation: "It comes as no big surprise to the SEC that it is IKEA Singapore that has taken this bold move to completely stop supplying plastic bags to customers.
“After all, IKEA was the first retailer to charge for plastic bags back in 2007 in the absence of any legislation. The move will serve as an impetus for other retailers to evaluate how their own operations can be further improved. Business sustainability and environmental sustainability are not mutually exclusive; rather, they go hand-in-hand."
In Singapore, about 2.5 billion plastic shopping bags are used every year. This amounts to 2500 bags per family per year or seven bags a day. If each family cuts down on just one plastic bag, the island-state could save 50 million bags each year.