When I usually think of Ikea I think of cheap, disposable furniture that can frequently be found in the Craigslist free section. So it was no surprise when reading how Ikea officer Steve Howard recently told The Guardian:
“If we look on a global basis, in the west we have probably hit peak stuff. We talk about peak oil. I’d say we’ve hit peak red meat, peak sugar, peak stuff … peak home furnishings.”
This current apex which Howard also describes as “peak curtains” certainly seems unsustainable to many, but mainly in the sense that we’re using up resources and creating more piles of waste. It’s interesting to hear how this is actually also unsustainable from a business perspective. As individual items are constructed and sold cheaper and cheaper, it makes sense that there must be some kind of limit. Howard suggested that Ikea can continue growing with some changes, stating
“We will be increasingly building a circular Ikea where you can repair and recycle products”.
It’s a step in the right direction, but vague enough that I’m not sure what it means. For example, I myself own two Ikea chairs. They’re okay but the fabric is super cheap and starting to get ugly. Does “repair” include reupholstery or at least higher quality slipcovers?
I’m hoping that statement above doesn’t mean Ikea’s going to create a giant recycling system for people to throw their old chairs into, which can then be disassembled or shredded and reused for materials. (I hear they shred their old catalogs this way and stuff them into new cushions.)
Although these aren’t my favorite chairs, they serve their purpose and are just ready and waiting for me to improve on them. Maybe this falls under the category “repair” and Ikea really is encouraging people to love their furnishings for longer. Here’s hoping. 🙂
As for curtains, that’s one area where my home furnishings are definitely lacking. But I have a sewing machine and some large pillow cases to tackle any small windows. One day I hope to even make a pair of these awesome patchwork curtains to show off in my living room. And if I run out of thread? Well, I guess I could pick some up at Ikea, but I don’t really expect to be buying anything there unless they stop making me walk past a bunch of cheap crap to find what I need.