IKEA’s blue and yellow store motifs have become familiar to households all over the world, including the Middle East with stores in Israel, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. IKEA’s Israel stores have been serving the public since 2001, and have introduced environmental policies into both the products it sells there, such as ceasing to sell incandescent light bulbs. These environmental friendly policies also hold true in regards to the bags used to carry purchased items home as IKEA stores in many countries, including Israel, now do not give plastic bags to customers in a policy to not only save money but be more green as well.
Shlomi Gabby, IKEA Israel General Mgr.
Until February 2011, IKEA’s Israel branch had two stores: the original or flagship store in the city of Netanya, and a second larger store near the city of Rishon Lezion, just south of Tel Aviv.
Aside from discontinuing the sale of the Thomas Edison (or Nikola Tesla) type of light bulbs, which are more energy inefficient than the new LED and florescent ones, IKEA’s new policies regarding plastic shopping bags in itself is a very “green” policy.
As stated by Israel General Manager Shlomi Gabbay:
“For the past two years the IKEA home office has been encouraging stores to stop using plastic furnishing bags, and has been selling reusable “blue bags” made from nylon, a more environmentally friendly material. To encourage customer use of these bags, it has reduced prices and provided a lifetime guarantee for these bags”.
known to both IKEA employees and to customers as the “blue bags” both stores in the Israel chain purchased about 250,000 blue bags in 2010, an increase of approximately 25%. They say customers have been reusing them more, resulting in expense reductions of 90 percent for plastic bags provided to customers at check-out. This is coupled with environmental savings of thousands of tons of environmentally non-friendly plastic waste.
IKEA wood and plastic furniture and accessory items are being made more and more from
recycled materials such as wood and fabrics left over from production that are considered by many to be waste products.
The stores also have bins for collection of recyclable items such as plastics, wood and metals. Energy saving lighting is also becoming standard for IKEA branch stores.
While some IKEA product items are perhaps not as environmentally sustainable as some environmentalists might want them to be, compared to many other large retail chains, IKEA is making great efforts to be as environmentally friendly as possible.
Not bad for a network of 331 stores in 38 countries, including at least 6 in the Middle East.
Shlomi Gabby photo: IKEA Israel:
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