Ikea to ditch single-use plastics by 2020 as part of sustainability push
Friday, June 15, 2018
There are few names that are more recognizable in home furnishings than Ikea. Shopping at an Ikea is an adventure unlike any other.
Not only can you find futons, fun artwork, kitchenware and everything else you need for the home, but you’ll find a delicious Swedish diner and fun warehouse-like environment where it’s easy to get lost in the hunt.
With all that going on, it would be easy for the Ikea corporation to lose sight of things like being eco-friendly while trying to keep customers happy and keep costs down. However, a recent announcement has proven that is anything but the case.
Ikea announced on June 7 that it would phase out all one-time use plastic products from both stores and restaurants by 2020.
Not only does this include the products they use in the cafe and store (such as plastic straws, cups and plastic containers) but it means they will not be selling those products on their shelves. You won’t find freezer bags, garbage bags and the like at Ikea.
This big announcement is part of a much broader sustainability plan for the Swedish company. The phrase Ikea uses when talking about its sustainability strategy is "people and planet positive by 2030."
Other ideas include a tap nozzle that will save water used in the stores and textiles (still in development) that Ikea will sell for consumers to purify air within the home.
Companies such as Ikea are making changes like this because of the negative spin plastic is receiving in press, mainly because of a lack of recycling initiatives.
For instance, stats have been passed around with this announcement stating that there could be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050. However, improved recycling efforts could go a long way towards turning this statistic around and keeping it from damaging the planet.
While Ikea is doing away with one-time use plastics, it is interesting to note that the company does utilize plastic in many other, environmentally positive ways.
It will be interesting to see how reusable products (like reusable sandwich bags instead of storage bags, for example), many of which will also be made of plastic, grow and come to fill the role of those single-use items within Ikea stores and cafes across the United States and around the world.
One of the most interesting thing about the ban on single-use plastics from Ikea is that the company has a notoriously complicated relationship with the concept of disposable. The company is often lambasted for producing home goods that are simply not of the highest quality and wind up in the landfill more quickly than other manufacturers.
Could this ban on single-use products be a sign of bigger things to come for the retailer? Only time will tell. In the meantime, fans of the Swedish firm’s garbage bags, plastic baggies or other related products may consider stockpiling today, because the items may not be on the shelf much longer.
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