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Ikea making strides to reduce plastic waste

Ikea has made plans to phase out all its single use plastic products from stores and restaurants by 2020 amongst rising concerns of the effects these products are having on the environment.

Its Plastic cups, plates, straws, bin bags, freezer bags and the plastic coated varieties are being targeted. With plans to try to find some environmentally friendly alternatives where possible.

Although they are taking these plans seriously, they are also being honest about this being a work in progress. A spokesperson said “we don’t have all the answers yet but we are working together with our suppliers to find solutions that are good for both people and the planet.”

These new plans come amid growing worries over plastic pollution in our oceans, with one truck load of plastic waste entering our seas every minute and spreading across the world, where it is harming and killing wildlife such as turtles, fish, seabirds, seals, whales and dolphins.

Ikea also want to find other way to help its customer live a more sustainable life by offering products such as a tap nozzle that could save up to 90% of water used. It will also be offering solar panels in more of its stores and introduce vegetarian foods to its menus.

With more than 363 stores worldwide, Ikea feel that their size and reach will give them the opportunity to “inspire and enable more than one billion people to live better lives, within the limits of the planet.” Torbjörn Lööf, the chief executive of the retailer’s parent Inter Ikea group.

The Swedish furniture chain has already committed to phase out oil based plastic products and ensure all its plastic products are made from recycled materials by 2020. The Retailer has invested in plastics recycling plant to help push its plans as well as investing in a windfarm and solar panels on its stores, as part of plans to rely on renewable electricity and heat for its stores by 2020.

Many other large retailers have also made agreements to help with this growing issue.

Iceland have said they will ditch plastic packaging on its own brand product by 2023.

Tescos have told suppliers it wants to stop using non-recyclable plastic packaging by 2019 while Waitrose are phasing out plastic trays that are hard to recycle.

A UN report released on World Environment Day (Tuesday 5th of June) shows dozens of nations acting to reduce plastic. Including bans on plastic bags in Kenya, Styrofoam in Sri Lanka, and the use of biodegradable bags in China.

In the UK, we have had the tax on single-use plastic bags, which saw a dramatic drop in their use. We now have the ban on microbeads in hygiene and cosmetic products. However Theresa May’s pledge to end avoidable plastic waste by the end of 2042 has been criticised for being too slow.

Greenpeace UK Ocean Campaigner Elena Polisano found Ikeas move encouraging and suggested “we need to see other big retailers come up with ambitious plans to cut the amount of throwaway plastic on their shelves.”


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