This week Ikea showed its last plastic straw in a display at London Design Museum after it refused to sell the items in any of its UK and Ireland stores, restaurants and bistros. The company wants to inspire consumers to take small steps that will have a positive environmental impact. “Plastic straws have become such an important emblem for change when it comes to single-use plastic, but this campaign is not just about straws,” said Hege Sæbjørnsen, an Ikea spokeswoman. “We want to harness people’s energy behind ditching single-use plastic straws and disposables to draw attention to the thousands of everyday changes we can all make to have a big impact on the planet.”
According to the Marine Conservation Society, the UK uses approximately 8.5 billion straws per year, and plastic straws are one of the top 10 items found at shore cleanings. Moreover, the step is associated with growing concerns about plastic pollution in the oceans, where it can harm and kill wildlife such as turtles and seabirds. Therefore, the company announced in June that it would gradually disconnect all disposable plastic products from its stores and restaurants on a global scale by 2020.
Ikea, which has more than 363 stores worldwide, says that it also wants to help its customers live more sustainably by offering products such as a discharge nozzle, which can save more than 90% of the water used. It will also offer solar panels in 29 markets, compared to five currently, by 2025, and introduce more vegetarian food into its cafes.