Ikea's "The Last Straw" On Display At London's Design Museum

by Rudy Sanchez on 10/11/2018 | 2 Minute Read

Joining the likes of DDT insecticides and ivory billiard balls, the plastic straw is quickly becoming a once-good idea with unintended consequences to our planet. Cities and governments around the world are banning them, and large companies are taking the initiative to discontinue use.

One such company is IKEA, which has phased out plastic straws in UK and Ireland.

As part an effort to raise awareness of the impact of single-use plastic, IKEA has installed an exhibit at London’s Design Museum putting on display the final straw sold or served at IKEA stores in the UK and Ireland. “The Last Straw” is being displayed as an artifact, meant to inspire the citizens of the UK and Ireland to take small steps to affect the environment positively.

Editorial photograph

The display also serves as a tangible symbol for IKEA’s People and Planet Positive vision, which includes a set of sustainability goals the company hopes to achieve by 2030. The UK is the largest consumer of plastic straws in Europe, using an estimated 8 billion a year, according to the Marine Conservation Society.

While the appears that plastic straw bans are gaining momentum, not everyone is on board, including those with disabilities. Many disabled people rely on single-use plastic straws. Some companies, like Starbucks, have promised to continue to offer straws to those that request them. There’s no word on whether IKEA will do so as well when their plastic ban goes global by 2020.

Becoming a museum is perhaps a fitting end to single-use plastic straws. Maybe in a few generations, an exhibit like this will be standing next to other relics from our contemporary civilization such as dial-up modems, Thomas Brothers maps, and gasoline-powered cars.

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