by Collin Dunn, Seattle on 02.20.07 Starting March 15, all IKEA stores in the US will charge a nickel per plastic bag in an effort to get people to haul their Swedish Fish and affordable housewares out of the store in reusable bags and cut down on plastic bag waste. Proceeds of up to $1.75 million (that’s a whole lot of bags) from the bag campaign will go to American Forests, the nation’s oldest non-profit citizens conservation organization, to plant trees to restore forests and offset CO2 emissions. To help alter customer behavior and endorse environmentally responsible habits, IKEA will be selling its reusable ‘Big Blue Bag’ for 59 cents, reduced from 99 cents. “We realize that our ‘Bag the Plastic Bag Program’ is a small step. But we know our customers want to help and support the sustainability of our planet – for today – and for the future of our children. This program lets our customers know we have our stake in the ground and are committed to continuing to be an environmentally responsible company,” says Pernille Spiers-Lopez, president of IKEA North America. IKEA projects that the number of plastic bags used by their U.S. customers will be reduced by at least 50% from 70 million to 35 million in the first year. This program was launched in IKEA stores in the UK in late Spring 2006, and reduction has been an impressive 95 percent.