Ikea has admitted that some plastics it makes could end up in landfill for “a long time” if changes are not made, and has unveiled a range of environmental targets to reduce its impact on the planet.
The Swedish furniture brand, which sells 12,000 products in 29 countries around the world, told HuffPost UK it aims for items to be made only from renewable or recyclable materials by 2030.
As part of the pledges, which it has announced today, it will also remove single use plastics – such as straws, plastic cutlery, freezer bags and bin bags from sale by 2020.
By 2025, it plans for all home deliveries to be transported by electric vans and by 2030, it has committed to phasing out all “virgin plastics” – which are made from new plastics rather than recycled materials.
Pia Heidenmark Cook, Ikea’s chief sustainability officer told HuffPost UK the company recognises it has a responsibility to find ways to reduce the impact of mass produced consumer goods. “We know it takes a very long time to degrade, so if it ends up in landfill it stays there a long time,” she told HuffPost UK.
Asked whether Ikea is really part of the problem, Heidenmark Cook says the business model is built on offering affordable furniture to consumers. “So you could say that leads to mass consumption, if you want, but it is really about enabling as many people as possible to have a beautiful home,” she said.
“There’s a need for home furnishings, and better that they should have home furnishings that are sustainable,” she said.
Three fifths (60%) of Ikea’s range is currently made from renewable materials (a natural resource which replenishes itself) and around 10% of it is made from recycled materials.
To get to the company’s 2030 of using only these materials, Heidenmark Cook, says they will be focusing on new materials and design innovations. Those currently underway include textiles that “help purify air in the home” and a kitchen unit made partly with plastic made from recycled bottles.
She said companies “absolutely” had a responsibility to start makes changes. “The customer should be able to trust us on that. Every company needs to step into this space.”