Europe

IKEA will ban all single-use plastic products by 2020

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The Swedish furniture giant has committed to phasing out all single-use plastic products by 2020.

The Swedish retail giant announced Ikea’s future plans on Thursday, which includes designing products that are able to be repaired, resold or recycled.

The new move will apply to all stores globally, and has been sparked by the announcement of the European Union’s proposal to ban single-use plastic products such as cotton buds, drink stirrers, cutlery, balloon sticks and plastic straws.

The EU says it will put the burden back on the manufacturers to clean up their waste in an effort to reduce marine litter.

IKEA CEO, Torbjörn Lööf, says their “ambition is to become people and planet-positive by 2030 while growing the IKEA business.”

“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.

We are committed to taking the lead working together with everyone – from raw material suppliers all the way to our customers and partners,” he says.

IKEA runs what they call 'Democratic Design Days', where they demonstrate several new solutions and innovations that enable people to save water, have cleaner air within their homes and reduce their climate impact.

Sustainability Manager, Lena Pripp-Kovac says “becoming truly circular means meeting people’s changing lifestyles, prolonging the life of products and materials and using resources in a smarter way.”

“To make this a reality, we will design all products from the very beginning to be repurposed, repaired, reused, resold and recycled,” she says.

Heidi Taylor, Managing director of Tangaroa Blue, a charity in Far North Queensland that documents pollution, says her foundation applauds big corporations like IKEA for integrating policies into their global business that reduces their plastic production, but said more needed to be done across the board.

“This should be the norm throughout business and industry, as it should be across government and community,” Ms Taylor told SBS News.

“We have enough evidence to show that single-use plastics cause harm in our environment, but also cause additional issues including impacting our waste streams.

“Business and industry need to be held responsible for the waste that they create. It can’t just be left to the consumer, who in some places has very little choice of what they buy,” she says.

IKEA also plans on becoming climate positive and reducing the total IKEA climate footprint by an average of 70 percent per product and achieving zero emissions home deliveries by 2025, with plans to work alongside furnishing suppliers across their entire factories.

“Change will only be possible if we collaborate with others and nurture entrepreneurship,” Mr Lööf says.

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