Swedish furniture and home accessories giant IKEA said it was eliminating single-use plastics from its stores in Israel.
The company vowed last year to eliminate single-use plastics from its stores worldwide in 2020, including straws, plates, cups, bags and garbage bags.
The move will take effect in Israel at the beginning of 2020, and will cover both the sale of single-use plastics and their use at eateries inside the stores, the Globes business daily reported on Wednesday.
The store will replace disposable plastic straws with alternatives, including paper and stainless steel.
The chain will continue selling plastic utensils that are not disposable.
The Israel stores will also sell plastic furniture products that are less damaging to the environment, such as curtains and carpets made from recycled plastic materials.
The company, the world’s largest furniture retailer, operates more than 420 stores worldwide in 52 countries, including five in Israel.
The chain has megastores in Netanya (founded in 2001), Rishon Lezion (2010), the northern town of Kiryat Ata (2014) and the southern city of Beersheba (2018), and a massive new 25,000-meter store in Eshtaol, near Beit Shemesh, is set to open in 2020. A smaller outlet at the Tel Aviv port focuses on kitchen products.
The Landwer coffee chain earlier this month was the first company of its kind in Israel to announce the elimination of plastic straws in its stores, Globes reported.
Israel is the second biggest per capita consumer of single-use plastic in the world and 90 percent of its beach trash is plastic.
Tel Aviv has the third most plastic pollution on its coastline among cities in 22 Mediterranean countries, according to a June report from the World Wildlife Fund for Nature.
According to the report, the Tel Aviv region has an average of 21 kilograms (46 pounds) of plastic debris per kilometer of coastline, one of the highest in the Mediterranean after Turkey’s Cilicia region and Spain’s Barcelona.
Plastics that end up in the seas and ocean are an increasingly common problem, killing maritime wildlife, contaminating fish and seafood entering the food chain, and leading to hundreds of millions of dollars of loss in tourism and maritime related industries.