Thursday, November 10, 2005

QUICK GREEN: Ikea Has Worms!

Ikea has worms.

Earthworms, that is, and not for sale either. One of the greenest stores around, especially for a mainstream retailer, Ikea is participating in a vermicompost (worm composting) pilot project.

Seems those Ikea restaurants produce a lot of food waste, which worms love to eat and turn into a high quality fertilizer. The program is pretty amazing, with two giant composting bins on truck beds set up to collect and process Ikea food wastes! Go Ikea!

You can set up your own worm box for food waste, but that is a tale for another day. Today I want to mention that not only is Ikea low-priced, they are committed to the most sustainable green business model I have seen in a while, and it’s a whole lot less terrible to buy Ikea products than home furnishings made elsewhere.

While checking out the Worms On Wheels project, I discovered that the company claims most stores recycle 70% of their waste stream, with an official goal of 90%! The worm program is touted as helping the chain get those last 30 percentage points.

Ikea scores high marks on other greenie fronts, some of which are collected here:

  1. Packing material is minimized, and nearly 100% recyclable. Cardboard and marked and numbered plastics cradle that new Snortblast bookshelf. (Personal Observation.)

  2. Flat-packed products ship more efficiently, reducing fuels, etc. associated with shipping. (Ikea Website Claim)

  3. Ikea was an early seller to move away from toxic flame-retardants, often used in children’s clothes by others, but useful in many fabric items. (Environment California Website)

  4. Similarly, Ikea has stopped using certain plastics – such as PVC – which many believe is also quite toxic. (Greenpeace Website)
  5. Many Ikea products are made from wood, a sustainable and environmentally friendly resource if managed properly. Ikea does not buy wood from ""intact natural forests" unless certified as sustainably managed. (Ikea Website)
This is not an endorsement of their products, per se – and for those who want to to get away from inexpensive Swedish design, this may not be welcome news. But certainly there is less environmental damage – thus green guilt, if you have gotten to the that stage -- inflicted by an Ikea product than but most other home furnishing products.

Coming Soon:

How You Can Get Worms Too!

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