Ikea to ban plastic straws in all its UK stores and restaurants by October 2018

Global furniture retailer Ikea has announced (July 16) that it will stop selling packs of single-use plastic straws in its UK and Ireland stores later this year, as part of its commitment to eliminate all single-use plastics from its global product range by 2020.

The ban, which will come into effect 1 October 2018, will also see Ikea phase out plastic straws at its cafes and restaurants nationwide, with customers being offered paper variants on request.

Ikea UK and Ireland’s country sustainability manager, Hege Sæbjørnsen, said the phase-out of single-use straws serves as “an important symbol for broader change” at the company.

“Plastic pollution is one critical issue to urgently address for a more sustainable future and is something our customers and co-workers are actively passionate about,” Sæbjørnsen said.

“By responding and acting quickly to remove single-use plastic straws, we hope to fuel the energy behind this movement and empower people to see the hundreds of other small actions we can all take in our daily lives to have a positive impact on the precious world around us.” 

The straw ban, which will apply to Ikea’s online range as well as at its 20 stores across the UK and Ireland, forms the company’s first step towards its newly announced goal of removing single-use plastics from its global product range by the end of the decade.

The commitment was announced last month as part of the chain’s updated People and Planet Positive strategy, which also includes a headline goal of designing all products using only renewable and recycled materials by 2030.

Ikea is now making some products, such as water bottles and storage crates, from plastic waste, and last year launched its first kitchen incorporating 100% post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastics and PCR wood. All its products are now being designed using its ‘democratic design’ principles, which are founded on circular values.

The last (plastic) straw

Ikea joins several other high-profile brands in the retail sector to announce plastic straw bans in recent months as public, corporate and political attention continues to remain firmly set on the damaging build-up of plastic waste in oceans.

Earlier this year, Waitrose announced that it would stop selling packs of plastic straws at all supermarkets by September 2018, then built on this commitment by pledging to replace all plastic straws used in its onsite cafes with Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paper alternatives.

In the food and drink sector, the likes of McDonald’s and Burger King have also pledged to introduce compostable straws in their UK restaurants this year, while the likes of Costa, Wagamama and Nando’s have also agreed to phase-out plastic straw use in some shape or form.

Meanwhile, a string of hospitality corporates including HiltonHotel du Vin and AccorHotels have made similar commitments.

edie’s Responsible Retail 2018

Solving key challenges – including modern slavery, supply chain involvement and the circular economy – will be one of the key themes of edie’s third annual Responsible Retail conference, taking place on 20 September 2018 at 99 City Road, London.

The full-day event has been designed for the retailers, sustainability professionals and key stakeholders that are looking for the information, insight and inspiration required to seize the sustainability opportunity.

Find out more about Responsible Retail 2018 and register to attend here.

Sarah George

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