Going to Ikea – Green Shopping

My wife and I went to IKEA on Saturday. I love IKEA. It’s always a fun day to check out what they’ve got, have a tasty lunch in their cafeteria, and then load up the car and head back home with your goodies. In fact, I have been enjoying IKEA since I was a little kid – long before they ever made it to the United States. I don’t like everything they sell. But most of it is of suprisingly good quality at pretty good prices.

What’s even more terrific about IKEA is their whole idea of environmentally friendly and healthy living. For example, the other day, I started researching mattresses because we needed to buy a couple for our 2 year’s old new room. I have gotten into the habit of researching items I’m about to purchase not just in terms of functionality, reliability, quality, etc. but in terms of their environmental and health qualities. When you google around for healthy mattresses, you will be surprized how awful most mattresses are these days. Apparently, the US Congress decided recently that mattresses had to be fireproof enough to put out burning oil wells in the desert. So many manufacturer have begun adding some real nasties to their mattresses, i.e. they soak them in fire retardants.

I was about to go out and buy an organic wool mattress or something similar when I found that IKEA apparently makes a point of not turning their mattresses into toxic nightmare pads. In fact, they have to add some stuff to their US sold mattresses that the rest of the world does not need. (Is the US market more fire prone than Europe?) Replacing the nasties with less toxic substances seems to be the general policy there. Can you be surprised ? After all, Sweden is a progressive country !! Check out some of these policy points on the IKEA website about sustainable and healthy business. Not only is this all good policy, as far as I’m concerned it makes for feel-good shopping.

Something else I noticed is that every time we go to IKEA, we have a really good lunch in their cafeteria. But I can’t think of a single US cafeteria (besides maybe high schools) where you would eat on non-disposable plates, cups, and silverware ! To me, that’s just another example of how every day household and business practice has gotten completely out of hand in the US. When was the last birthday party you’ve been to where cake wasn’t served on paper plates and eaten using plastic forks while sipping from a plastic cup ???

Things need to change, and this visit to IKEA was an inspiration. I need to find out how I can become a environmental management business consultant, i.e. help companies eliminate waste and become more environmentally friendly. Not only because out planet’s health is on the line but because I think it would be a very fulfilling job. Maybe I need to look for an Environmental MBA or something like that.

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