Aren't IKEA bags more wasteful than traditional plastic bags?

Posted by Lisa on December 17, 2022
Table of Contents

    Introduction

    While IKEA is certainly a sustainable brand, it's easy to see that their most famous product—the blue bag—is not as sustainable as you might think. That's because the company uses so many bags, and they're made with plastic. But before we jump on the bandwagon for this criticism of the Swedish behemoth, let's take a closer look at what actually goes into making each of those 18 billion products every year.

    IKEA's big blue bag is certainly eye-catching, and it's also one of the most important parts of IKEA's sustainability efforts.

    The bag is a big part of IKEA's sustainability efforts. It is made from recycled plastic, and the company aims to make it from a renewable material by 2030.

    The big blue bag has been praised for its design and for the way it has encouraged customers to reuse their shopping bags instead of letting them pile up in landfills or take up space at home (or both). But some shoppers have wondered if the bag itself is better for the environment than traditional plastic bags, which are less durable but more easily recycled.

    The bags make up just a fraction of the annual 18 billion plastic products IKEA creates.

    IKEA produces more than 18 billion plastic products every year. It's not just the bags that you need to worry about; it's everything from your sofa to your fruit bowl. However, the bags make up only 1% of that number, and IKEA is trying to reduce the amount of plastic it uses in general.

    You might be surprised by this fact because there are so many posts on social media that talk about how wasteful IKEA shopping is. And when you look at those posts, they do have some merit: after all, an average American family has over 3 cars and drives almost 20k miles per year which means driving alone adds up to nearly 500 miles a week!

    But when someone points out how much carbon dioxide we produce while driving cars around town or even just commuting into work every day... Well... That seems like such an easy thing for us as consumers (and voters) to control! So why aren't we doing it?

    The bag is a good reminder of IKEA's commitment to plastic reduction.

    The bag is a good reminder of IKEA's commitment to plastic reduction.

    • The bag is a good reminder of IKEA's commitment to sustainability.
    • The bag is a good reminder of IKEA's commitment to waste reduction.

    The company hopes to have a renewable material for all of its products by 2030.

    IKEA has a plan. The company wants to use renewable materials for all of its products by 2030, and it's been working on this since 2013. Since then, IKEA has been working with suppliers to create new materials and is also developing biodegradable options that break down faster than standard plastic packaging.

    It might seem that way, but its true impact is much bigger than you might think.

    It might seem that way, but its true impact is much bigger than you might think.

    The big blue bag has become a symbol of IKEA’s commitment to sustainability and the environment. But why are these bags so beloved by consumers? A lot of it comes down to their size: because they're so large, you can fill them up with more items than even a standard reusable shopping bag would be able to hold—and then some! They're also made out of plastic canvas rather than paper or fabric (like many reusable grocery bags), which means they'll last longer and resist rips better over time.

    If you're still not convinced this is the right choice for your next trip to IKEA, consider this: each year, 1% of the world's CO2 emissions come from transporting things between countries or continents; if we were all using one big blue bag instead of our own personal totes when we moved house or traveled abroad for vacation every day, we'd save around 2 million tons per year in greenhouse gas emissions alone!

    It takes more plastic to make an IKEA bag than to make a traditional plastic shopping bag.

    Most traditional plastic shopping bags are made from less than 60% recycled plastic. For example, the typical grocery store bag is made from 20-25% post-consumer recycled material, while the average gas station bag is made from only 5%.

    IKEA's bags are made of a thicker plastic than most traditional bags, but they're also completely recyclable and biodegradable. Most people don't know that because IKEA doesn't advertise this fact very much (unlike other brands who claim to be “eco-friendly”). In fact, you'll notice that IKEA's official stance on sustainability is fairly vague: they say they care about reducing their impact on the environment without making specific promises or disclosures about how they do so.

    The average lifespan of an IKEA bag is 20 minutes to an hour.

    If you're using IKEA bags to transport something of value, like a plant or a pair of shoes, you'll probably use them for longer than an hour. But if you're carrying around your groceries in one of these bags as opposed to the reusable fabric ones that are available at most stores, chances are good that it's just going to sit in your car for the next few days before being tossed out.

    The average life of an IKEA bag is 20 minutes to an hour. Most people don't reuse them, since they can't easily be folded into a small size once they've been opened or worn out from stuffing and folding over time; nor do they recycle them (which requires sending them back to Sweden).

    IKEA bags can be recycled, but rarely are.

    IKEA bags are made from recycled plastic, so they should be easier to recycle than most other kinds of plastic. But they are rarely recycled, because it's more complicated than that.

    IKEA bags need to be separated from other recycling materials. They can't go in with your regular curbside recycling bin or drop-off center—instead, you need to bring them somewhere where there's a special machine that separates them out (and also handles all your other stuff). Even then, the IKEA bags will be collected as garbage.

    If you use your IKEA bag just once, it's still less wasteful than other bags.

    So, if you use your IKEA bag just once, it's still less wasteful than other bags. The thing about that plastic is that the excess is left over. It doesn't actually go anywhere or do anything—it just sits there and takes up space in a landfill.

    IKEA bags are reusable (if you don't lose them). They're biodegradable—they break down over time into smaller pieces of plastic that can be recycled again into other products like backpacks or soda bottles or whatever else! And they're not made from virgin plastic; instead they're made from post-consumer materials like old milk jugs and soda bottles.

    The use of IKEA bags isn't as eco-friendly as it may seem at first glance, but they're still more environmentally friendly than most alternatives.

    IKEA bags are made from plastic, and require more resources to produce than traditional plastic bags. Because these bags have a low price point, it's easy to think that they're better for the environment than they actually are. While IKEA bags do use less petroleum than traditional plastic bags, they're still not as eco-friendly as you might expect when you look at them on the surface.

    IKEA's own calculations show that it takes 260 kilograms of CO2 emissions to produce 1 million white IKEA shopping bags (which is roughly equivalent to the amount of CO2 emissions produced by driving 27 miles in an average passenger car). That's almost double what it takes to make a single fast food restaurant bag or supermarket shopping bag!

    These numbers may sound high, but keep in mind that these figures only represent how much fossil fuel was used during production. The true environmental cost of all of this transportation would be significantly higher because producing these types of reusable alternatives often involves shipping raw materials from overseas locations like China or India where manufacturing facilities are located; this adds even more greenhouse gases into our atmosphere and contributes even further toward global climate change issues such as rising sea levels due to melting ice caps and ocean acidification due to increased carbon dioxide concentrations in seawater (both caused by burning fossil fuels).

    Conclusion

    IKEA's bags are better for the environment than regular plastic bags. They're reusable and recyclable, so they don't end up in landfills or oceans like their disposable counterparts do. And when customers use them to transport their purchases home, they're helping IKEA reach its goal of reducing the amount of single-use plastics used by all its customers by 2020.

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