Ikea just announced it will begin charging its US customers five cents a pop to use their disposable plastic bags to carry tchotchkes and adult Legos from the shelves to their cars.

It’s all part of a program aimed to reduce the number of plastic bags Americans throw away every year – a number that is currently a mind-boggling 100 billion.

Currently, 70 million of those bags come directly from the Yellow and Blue Box, and they plan on cutting that number in half during the first year of the pay-to-bag program, and eventually eliminate them completely. A similar program in the UK cut British bag consumption by 95%.

It’s another step for a company that – despite its ‘cheap’ image – is incredibly green. IKEA’s packaging is significantly more efficient than most furniture companies, and their use of recycled materials and carbon-offsetting is an example for corporations everywhere.

And they’re smart enough to know the fastest way to get Americans to be more conservative is to hit ’em in their wallets. God knows we’ll only change our actions if something becomes slightly more inconvenient or costly.

Via Grist.