Is Apple About To Get Rid Of Its Iconic Plastic Bags?

Is Apple About To Get Rid Of Its Iconic Plastic Bags?
ElisaRiva / Pixabay

The drawstring plastic bags have become a highly desirable item among Apple fans, but have also become known as “rob me” bags in some quarters.

Now it appears that the tech giant may be about to get rid of the plastic bags in favor of a more environmentally-friendly alternative. Apple may soon phase out the bags in all of its stores.

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Staff email calls for plastic bags to be phased out

9to5Mac has obtained an email sent to Apple employees in the United States, in which executives reveal that they want to phase out the use of plastic bags in its retail locations by April 15. As an alternative the company will start using paper bags made from 80%  recycled materials.

There is presumably a stock of thousands of the plastic bags already in stores, and it would be a shame not to use them. The staff missive says that this stock should be used up before making the switch to the paper bags.

With UK businesses now charging a small fee for each plastic bag, it has become normal for staff to ask shoppers if they want a bag. Many people now carry their own heavy-duty shopping bags to avoid the fee and help the environment, and it seems as though Apple U.S. stores will be encouraging similar behavior.

Apple trumpets its environmental credentials

The staff note says that Apple store operatives should try to discourage the use of any bag. “When customers are buying a product, ask if they need a bag. They may decide they don’t. And you’ll encourage them to be even more environmentally friendly,” the company said in the report.

While customers buying from Apple may want to flaunt their new purchase with an iconic bag, it seems that the company will discourage such behavior. The move is the latest in a recent drive to emphasize the green credentials of Apple.

During a product event in March the company addressed its sustainable forestry agenda and its use of renewable energy. According to Apple 93% of its facilities around the globe ran on renewable energy. The company also mentioned the use of a robot called Liam that helps with recycling.

More efforts could be made by tech companies

Despite the grand claims there is a lot of evidence that Apple could do more to protect the environment. One important factor for consideration is that the company makes a large proportion of its products in China, where electricity is still largely generated in coal-powered plants.

Apple also encourages users to upgrade to the latest gadgets when their old ones are still perfectly functional. This wasteful model may drive profits for the company, but it generates a whole lot of waste and takes away from the company’s overall environmental record.

It must be mentioned that the policy is also followed by the majority of tech companies around the world, so Apple is by no means alone in encouraging upgrades. However as a leader in the industry Apple could do a lot more to encourage environmentally-friendly behavior.

If you want to reduce the environmental cost of your Apple purchase, not only should you take it home in a paper bag but you should wait until your old device is defunct. There has been no comment as to whether the paper bag initiative will be implemented at Apple retail locations around the world.


While studying economics, Brendan found himself comfortably falling down the rabbit hole of restaurant work, ultimately opening a consulting business and working as a private wine buyer. On a whim, he moved to China, and in his first week following a triumphant pub quiz victory, he found himself bleeding on the floor based on his arrogance. The same man who put him there offered him a job lecturing for the University of Wales in various sister universities throughout the Middle Kingdom. While primarily lecturing in descriptive and comparative statistics, Brendan simultaneously earned an Msc in Banking and International Finance from the University of Wales-Bangor. He's presently doing something he hates, respecting French people. Well, two, his wife and her mother in the lovely town of Antigua, Guatemala.
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