Ikea is to phase out all single-use plastic products from its stores and restaurants by 2020 amid growing concern about the effects of plastic on the environment, The Guardian reports.
Ikea said plastic straws, plates, cups, freezer bags, bin bags, and plastic-coated paper plates and cups would all be phased out and where possible replaced by alternatives.
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.”
The Swedish furniture chain is already committed to phasing out oil-based plastics and is aiming to ensure all its plastic products are made using recycled materials by August 2020.
It has invested in a plastics recycling plant to help push the plan forward.
The latest move comes amid growing concern over plastic pollution in the world’s oceans, where it can harm and kill wildlife such as turtles and seabirds.
The retailer, which has more than 363 stores worldwide, says it also wants to help its customers live more sustainably by offering products such as a tap nozzle that could save more than 90% of water used. It will also be offering solar panels in 29 markets, up from five at present, by 2025 and introducing more vegetarian foods into its cafes.
“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 of the retailer’s parent Inter Ikea group, said.
“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.”
Ikea’s commitment on plastic comes after Iceland, the grocery chain, said it would ditch plastic packaging on its own brand products by 2023. British MPs have called on other supermarkets to follow suit and eliminate plastic packaging from their products over that period.
Tesco has told suppliers it wants to stop using non-recyclable plastic packaging from next year, while Waitrose is phasing out black plastic trays that are hard to recycle.
A UN report issued on Tuesday – World Environment Day – showed dozens of nations acting to cut plastic, including a ban on plastic bags in Kenya, on styrofoam in Sri Lanka and the use of biodegradable bags in China.
A tax on single-use plastic bags in the UK has slashed their use and ministers have banned microbeads in personal hygiene products. However, Theresa May’s pledge to end avoidable plastic waste by the end of 2042 has been criticised as far too slow.
The Greenpeace UK oceans campaigner Elena Polisano welcomed the Ikea move and said: “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.”