IKEA Canada asks its customers to "Bag the bag" as it launches its plastic bag reduction campaign today

    Canadian stores to start charging 5 cents for plastic bags with all
    proceeds donated to Tree Canada

    BURLINGTON, ON, Oct. 22 /CNW/ - Starting today, IKEA Canada is taking a
stand against plastic bags. Canadians take home an estimated 55 million
plastic carry out bags a week(1) and IKEA Canada is stepping up to the plate
to help reduce plastic bag use in Canada. In its continual efforts towards
long term environmental sustainability, IKEA Canada is aiming to reduce
plastic bag consumption at its stores by 50 per cent in the next year. All
IKEA stores across Canada are now charging 5 cents for plastic bags. All
proceeds from the sale of plastic bags will be donated to IKEA Canada's long
term environmental partner - Tree Canada. The funds generated from the sales
of the plastic bags will be used to plant trees throughout Canada and help
offset CO(2) (carbon dioxide) emissions.
    To help alter customer behavior and endorse environmentally responsible
habits, IKEA will continue to sell its iconic reusable 'Blue Bag' for $1. The
Blue Bag, which has been available since 2003 is also made of plastic, but it
is durable, strong, can hold up to 60 kg, and, most importantly can be reused.
IKEA hopes customers will bring it along to carry purchases when they shop at
IKEA stores or elsewhere.
    "IKEA Canada sees social and environmental responsibility as a
pre-requisite for doing good business," says Kerri Molinaro, President of IKEA
Canada. "Not only that, our customers are becoming even more environmentally
savvy and expecting retailers to operate their businesses in a GREEN way. The
plastic bag initiative is one way IKEA is helping to have a positive
environmental impact in the areas we do business."
    After learning about the positive response to a similar program at IKEA
in both the U.K. and the U.S., IKEA Canada commissioned its own survey asking
customers about their opinion regarding plastic bag use. When over 70 per cent
of the respondents indicated that they would support an environmental
alternative to help reduce plastic bag use, IKEA listened and took action. The
initiative also comes on the heels of a recent Ontario government announcement
to work with retailers to reduce the use of plastic bags by 50 per cent by
    IKEA Canada currently goes through 25 million plastic bags across the
country and the goal is to reduce it to 12.5 million by the end of July 2008.
By charging 5 cents for plastic bags, IKEA Canada hopes that it will encourage
customers to bring their own bag, use a reusable blue bag or use no bag at
all. However, customers that choose to still purchase a bag can take pride in
the fact that the money will not be profited by IKEA Canada but donated to
Tree Canada, the largest national organization that plants trees across
Canada. This not-for-profit charitable organization has planted over
74 million trees since 1992 and continues to provide educational support to
encourage Canadians to plant and care for trees and help reduce the harmful
effects of carbon dioxide emissions.
    "We congratulate IKEA Canada on this amazing environmental stewardship
initiative", says Michael Rosen, President of Tree Canada. "The 'Bag the Bag'
program will allow us to restore areas ravaged by fires or other disturbances
across Canada through the planting of thousands of trees while reducing the
harmful impact of plastic bags in our landfill sites," he said.
    For over 10 years, IKEA Canada has worked with Tree Canada through a
co-worker tree planting program and to date has planted nearly 14,000 trees
across Canada. At maturity, these trees will have absorbed over 2,000 tonnes
of CO(2). This is the same as the CO(2) generated to power 1,338 homes for a
year with electricity or that which is produced by 421 cars driving
20,000 km/year.(2)
    Should IKEA Canada reach its goal of reducing plastic bags by
50 per cent, the donation will be enough to plant 153,150 trees helping absorb
25,548 tonnes of CO(2) emissions over the average life of a Canadian tree.
That's the same as taking 4731 cars off the road for one year!(3)
    Store cash areas have been re-designed to allow customers to take the
number of plastic bags they require for their purchases before processing
their transactions. Alternatively, the iconic IKEA Blue Bag will also be
available at the cash lanes for customers who prefer to purchase a reusable
    A similar program launched in IKEA stores in the UK in late spring 2006,
and most recently the U.S. in March. While reduction figures are still
preliminary in the U.S., the UK saw a phenomenal 95 per cent reduction in
plastic bags along with huge increases in blue bag purchases.

    About IKEA
    IKEA is a leading home furnishings retailer with 260 stores in 36
countries worldwide, which are visited by 522 million people every year.
IKEA Canada has 11 stores which are visited by over 25 million people every
year. Last year the ikea.com websites attracted 450 million visitors. Founded
in 1943, IKEA's business philosophy is to offer a wide range of products of
good design and function at prices so low, the majority of people can afford
them. For more information on IKEA, please visit: www.ikea.ca.

    About Tree Canada
    Tree Canada is a not-for-profit charitable organization established to
encourage Canadians to plant and care for trees in urban and rural
environments. To date it has engaged Canada's top companies, public agencies,
individuals and volunteers to support the planting and maintenance of over
74 million trees, the re-greening of over 400 schoolyards, seven national
urban forest conferences, 30 carbon neutral conferences and other efforts to
sensitize Canadians to the benefits of planting and maintaining trees.

    Images are available upon request.

    (1) Source: Recycling Council of Ontario and the Canadian Plastics
        Industry Association
    (2) Source: Tree Canada
    (3) Source: Tree Canada

For further information:

For further information: Debbie McDowell, Corporate Communications
Manager, IKEA Canada, (905) 637-9440 x 267, debbie.mcdowell@memo.ikea.com

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