Apple Turns Environmental Eye on Retail with Move to Paper Bags

A Green AppelApple has turned its legendary attention to detail on its own retail stores this week with a move to paper bags for customers who request them. It's a small thing compared to having 93 percent of its global energy coming from green production, and Apple is hardly the first company to use paper bags, but it shows that Apple's efforts to reduce its carbon footprint are ongoing.

Apple broke the news in a letter to retail employees, according to 9to5Mac. That letter reads:

We are committed to leaving the world better than we found it. One bag at a time. So on April 15th, we'll switch to paper shopping bags made from 80 percent recycled materials. These bags come in medium and large.

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.

If you still have plastic bags in stock, use them before you switch to the new paper bags. Learn more about all of our environmental projects at

The paper bags will replace the iconic off-white plastic bag with a black Apple logo and high-quality draw strings that Apple has used for years. We don't yet know what the new bags look like, but it's a good bet they will be similar to the paper bags used to promote the launch of Apple Watch. Those bags were white, with colorful, high quality handles.

This move is interesting to me, either despite or because it's a relatively small act for a company as big as Apple. Retailers change their bags all the time and no one pays attention, and Apple is far from the first company to move to paper in the face of all the criticism concerning plastic bags.

Maybe it's because everything Apple does that touches the public is thought out and part of a master plan. Maybe it's because we can see Tim Cook, Jony Ive, Phil Schiller, Angela Arhendts, Lisa Jackson, and other top executives making a considered decision on this one tiny thing. Maybe it's because we believe that Apple is truly doing this to reduce its carbon footprint, and not green-washing a decision that was really made to save 1.03 cents per transaction.

Whatever the case, this is the kind of thing that makes Apple fans.