Southern California environment news and trends

Ikea helps plant two million trees across America

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Popular Swedish-based home furnishings retailer Ikea announced this week the planting of two million trees throughout the U.S. In conjunction with American Forests, Ikea’s Plant A Tree program strategically targeted areas in need, including 74,000 trees planted in California’s Sequoia National Forest as part of the McNally Fire restoration.

“Forests are the most important land-based ecosystems on earth. IKEA’s commitment to planting trees makes a real difference, both for the health of our planet and its inhabitants,” said Scott Steen, CEO of American Forests in a press release. “We at American Forests deeply appreciate the partnership of IKEA and its customers in this important work.”

Introducing the Plant A Tree program back in 1998, Ikea has a long history of practicing sustainability, including an extensive solar panel initiative and being the first major retailer to stop all sales on incandescent lighting.

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Electric Avenue: Stanford team wants to recharge your car while you drive

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For the environmentally  (as well as financially) conscious driver, electric cars are the only way to cruise. With California stressing greener cars and automakers making a concerted effort to bring more affordable electric vehicles to the public, the need for basics like charging stations are increasingly paramount. Even big retailers like Ikea and Walmart are getting onboard by adding said stations to their stores (the easier to shop inside, of course).

Now researchers at Stanford are working on a progressive system that would all but eliminate the need for charging stations by literally electrifying the roads we drive on. Using technology known as magnetic resonance coupling, the general idea is that metal coils would be placed in the actual freeway itself, creating a wireless transfer system that could literally charge an electric car’s battery as it drives.

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When Big Companies Do Good Things: Costa Mesa Ikea store installs EV charging station

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It’s a love/hate relationship many of us have with Ikea. Sure, they have functional furniture and home accessories for reasonable prices, and a surprisingly delicious food court. But it’s hard not to hate on their oft-remote locations, not to mention the infinite patience required to assemble “that damn night stand”.

The fines Swedes behind Ikea are well aware of it all. Which is why they’re going to such great lengths to offset the sizable carbon footprint their stores can create. After already doing so in Portland, OR and California cities San Diego and Carson, Ikea has upgraded their Costa Mesa location as the fourth in America to boost an EV charging station. While there is no timetable or locations yet determined, Ikea plans on upgrading another five of their stores in the western U.S. with EV stations.

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To Ikea or not to Ikea? That is the question (when shopping for furniture)

Recently, we took a look at how you can go green when shopping for furniture. And while buying vintage pieces and investing in well-made materials is perhaps your greenest option, it’s not always the most practical. We get it – in a tough economy it isn’t always possible to invest a month’s rent into a table. So what to do when you’re faced with the eternal question: to Ikea or not to Ikea?

Let's look at Ikea’s green agenda. The store has launched a giant green marketing campaign to share their sustainability, touting their “never ending list” of improvements. The company does try to incorporate some sustainable standards for its wooden material.

The company started eliminating plastic bags from their stores in 2008. It also claims their products have strict standards on formaldehyde. And we do agree that their infamous flat-packaging is more carbon friendly to transport.

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