Worldwide retailer Ikea is set to phase out their use of plastic products by 2020. This sustainability initiative reportedly comes as a result from the detrimental effects of plastic on the environment, according to The Guardian.
While Ikea is best known as a global furniture retailer and home goods store, the company also offers dine-in options at most of their locations. This includes the use of plastic cups, plates, straws, and bags, most of which are difficult to recycle. These plastics often end up in our waterways and oceans, harming aquatic wildlife such as sea turtles.
“Change will only be possible if we collaborate with others and nurture entrepreneurship. We are committed to taking the lead working together with everyone — from raw material suppliers all the way to our customers and partners,” said chief executive Torbjorn Loof.
This week, a pilot whale was killed in Thailand after it ingested over 80 plastic bags and contained more than 17 pounds of plastic and other garbage in its stomach. These bags could not be properly digested and filled the whale’s stomach, preventing the creature from eating and depriving it of important nutrients. While the average plastic bag is only used for 25 minutes, the result this product has on the environment lasts much longer.
Because of the rising concern regarding plastic in our oceans, Ikea has invested in a plastic recycling plant and aims to phase out most of their plastic use by 2020.
This contributes to the company’s already green initiative, where the company has already began implementing solar panels and investing in wind farms. The company reportedly aims to heat and power their stores using these renewable options by 2020.
Increasingly, large companies like Ikea are embracing values-based initiatives such as this. Not only does this appeal to increasingly eco-friendly consumers, but it can improve company culture. A recent Columbia University study found that companies with poor culture experience turnover rates as high as 48.4%.
While Ikea already planned on phasing out its use of oil-based plastics from its stores, the decision to phase out all plastics comes as a serious commitment to green energy. Additionally, the company also plans to include more vegetarian foods in its stores and cafes.
Ikea’s devotion to green energy and eco-friendly options is nothing new. The store has already offered water-saving nozzles and other options for the sustainable consumer.
Ikea isn’t the only company to cut its reliance on plastics. Companies like Tesco and Waitrose are slashing their use of plastic packaging and trays, while entire countries have banned the use of non-recyclable products, like Kenya and Sri Lanka.
According to Greenpeace UK campaigner, Elena Polisano, one truckload worth of plastics enters the ocean every minute.
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