Credit: Pixabay.

The world’s largest furniture retailer has committed to phase-out all single-use plastics from its stores and restaurants by 2020. The welcomed initiative was announced under a backdrop of growing environmental concerns surrounding plastic pollution, particularly in the oceans. 

According to an Ikea spokesperson, plastic straws, plates, cups, freezer bags, bin bags, and plastic-coated paper plates and cups would all be phased out by 2020. Where possible, these will be replaced by environmentally-friendly alternatives.

This most recent announcement is the latest in a string of environmentally centered initiatives designed to lower the company’s carbon footprint and impact on nature.

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The Swedish-founded multinational group, which designs and sells ready-to-assemble furniture, kitchen appliances and home accessories, is already committed to phasing out oil-based plastics from its manufacturing process. By August 2020, Ikea wants to ensure that all its plastic-based products are made using recycled materials, and has invested in its own plastic recycling plant for this purpose.

Ikea is also known for heavily marketing products that help consumers lessen their environmental impact. These include tap nozzles that reduce water consumption and solar panels. The solar panels are available in 5 markets, but the company intends to expand their offering to 29 markets by 2025.

As part of its grander long-term vision, Ikea aims to become “circular” and entirely climate positive — meaning the company aims to only use renewable or recycled inputs for its products by 2030.

“Through our size and reach we have the opportunity to inspire and enable more than 1 billion people to live better lives, within the limits of the planet”, Torbjörn Lööf, the chief executive Inter Ikea group, said in a press release.

“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.”

Environmental groups were quick to praise the move, with Greenpeace UK oceans campaigner Elena Polisano stating:

“We now need to see other big retailers come up with ambitious plans to cut the amount of throwaway plastic on their shelves. With one truckload of plastic waste entering our seas every minute and spreading everywhere from the Arctic to the Antarctic and to the deepest point of the ocean, we need bold action – and fast.”