Exterior of an Ikea shop

Ikea pledges to use only renewable and recycled materials by 2030

Image credit: REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

Swedish furniture and homewares company Ikea has announced that it will transition to using only sustainable materials by 2030 and will phase out all single-use plastic products by 2020.

Ikea has long cultivated an image of an eco-friendly company, with 60 per cent of its range based on renewable materials (largely timber) and 10 per cent containing recycled materials. Already, it has plans in place to ensure that its plastic products are made of recycled materials by August 2020 and last year it invested in a plastics recycling plant in the Netherlands.

A further set of targets were laid out in the retail giant’s 2030 sustainability strategy document. The new targets will affect all 418 Ikea stores - including those run by other franchises - as well as its supply chain.

Most notably, Ikea aims to be entirely using renewable and recycled materials in its products by 2030. The company hopes that this could help reduce its environmental footprint by 80 per cent by 2030 compared with 2016.

Changes will include a new recipe for its popular candles and the use of a more sustainable type of glue in its chipboard. Ikea will also be increasing the number of plant-based meal and snack options in its restaurants; a vegetarian hot dog is due to be rolled out in European branches in August 2018.

By 2020, the company will aim to ditch single-use plastics, including straws, plates, cups, freezer bags, bin bags and plastic-coated paper plates and cups. As many of as possible will be replaced by alternatives which can be reused, repaired, resold or recycled.

“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 Torbjörn Lööf, CEO of Inter Ikea Group. “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 decision to put an end to single-use plastics follows a series of decisions by businesses and governments to cut down on plastic pollution. Recently, the EU announced that it would ban the most common single-use plastic items and Chile became the first country in the Americas to instigate a ban on plastic bags: policies motivated by growing concerns about the impact of plastic pollution on the environment, in particular on marine life.

Prime Minister Theresa May’s pledge to phase out avoidable plastic waste by 2042 has been criticised by environmental groups as unambitious.

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