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Ice Cubes Imported to Iceland

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Ice Cubes Imported to Iceland

Sólheimajökull glacier.

Do we need ice cubes from abroad? Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

Icelanders must import numerous necessities, but who would have guessed ice cubes were among them?

According to RÚV, ice cubes are imported to Iceland by the tons. They are sold in Icelandic grocery stores at a price far below that of Icelandic ice cubes. Consumers need to know that such an import leaves a large carbon footprint, a biologist at Landvernd, the Icelandic Environment Association, points out.

In Icelandic grocery stores, the ice cubes they offer come from places such as Norway, the UK and the US. The price of Icelandic ice cubes can be as much as 40 percent higher than that of the imported ones.

Biologist Rannveig Magnúsdóttir, who works for Landvernd, commented, “I find this completely insane, as I’m sure most people do, and I think our cousins in Norway and Scotland laugh at the fact that they can sell Icelanders ice.”

She explained, “Transporting ice between countries has a great environmental impact, because the ships emit green house gases. Therefore, it’s incomprehensible how it can be cheaper to purchase ice that has been frozen abroad and transported by ship across the Atlantic, rather than making it here at home.” She continued, “This is accompanied by a huge carbon footprint, which for sure does not go into the price.”

The grocery stores carrying the imported ice cubes display them where they’re more visible than the Icelandic ones. Rannveig remarked, “In that case, this is a marketing effort, and the placement is intentional to encourage people to choose this product.” She is not sure whether Icelandic consumers realize that what they’re purchasing is imported. Most consumers neither check a product’s description nor its country of origin, she stated.

Rannveig emphasized, “Maybe people are in fact being deceived in a way. If we, consumers, don’t express our disapproval regarding these matters, then nothing happens, and we, as consumer, have great power; we can decide not to buy these products, or put our foot down and say, ‘Enough is enough. Give us Icelandic products!’”

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