IKEA says no to plastic
IKEA, the first major retailer to stop using plastic bags in 2007, has committed to getting rid of any single-use plastic by 2020. These include removing straws, cutlery, and drink stirrers from its restaurants, and garbage bags, freezer bags, 200-packs of straws and plastic containers and packaging overall from its shelves.
Finding an alternative to plastic-coated paper cups that have been necessary for hot beverages is one goal.
The move is part of an overall commitment to become “people and planet positive” by 2030. Other commitments include making products with renewable, recycled material only, and reducing more greenhouse gases than it emits.
“Through our size and reach we have the opportunity to inspire and enable more than one billion people to live better lives, within the limits of the planet,” said Inter IKEA Group CEO Torbjörn Lööf in a press release.
More cities, states and countries are looking for ways to reduce plastic consumption and its impact on litter, landfill overflow, marine pollution and overall climate change.
California became the first state to ban plastic bags in 2016 and similar bans or regulations have arrived across municipalities in other states. Exemptions often include bags to wrap newspapers, dry cleaning items, frozen foods, meat and fish.
Lately, the bans and regulations have spread to other plastic items due to heightened concerns over ocean trash. Seattle, Malibu and Miami Beach have passed bans on plastic straws. More calls are being heard to ban take-out containers.
Last week, A&W said it planned to eliminate the use of plastic straws by the close of the year, becoming the first fast-food chain in North America to do so. In January, Iceland, the U.K.-grocer, announced a five-year aim to replace all plastic packaging with trays made of paper and pulp.
But most plastic reduction pushes are coming from legislators. Retail groups have cited concerns over the economic impact of such bans on smaller businesses, and the economic cost of reusable alternatives ultimately falling on consumers, amid debates over the environmental-impact of alternatives.
- IKEA takes sustainable living to a new level, with new commitments to become people and planet positive by 2030 – IKEA
- Ikea is ditching single-use plastic by 2020 – Fast Company
- A&W Canada first restaurant chain in North America to eliminate plastic straws – A&W Food Services of Canada
- Whole Foods Market to sack disposable plastic grocery bags by Earth Day – Whole Foods
- Plastic bag bans coming to Hoboken, Jersey City – NJ.com
- Iceland supermarket vows to eliminate plastic on all own-branded products – The Guardian
- P.E.I. may become first province in Canada to ban retailers from offering plastic bags – Toronto Star
- Why Are Straws So Bad For The Environment? 7 Reasons Cities Are Pushing For Bans – Bustle
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you expect to see other retailers follow IKEA’s lead in committing to eliminate single-use plastic? Do you see a rising plastics backlash driving an urgent response in the near-term or can retailers wait for perhaps more viable solutions to arrive in the years ahead?