The Tools To Fight Against Single-Use Plastic

Imagine for a moment that you design products for a living. But you can’t design all the things, so you have to buy some of your stuff from big-box stores just to go about your everyday life. This is more or less what happened to [Eric Strebel], who recently bought a bathroom faucet from IKEA. This particular flat-pack faucet came with a single-use plastic nut driver to be used in putting the faucet together. Since there is no marking that indicates the plastic type, it can’t be easily recycled. Not even the size of the business end is indicated. So between the shoddy plastic construction and the lack of information, most people are going to just throw this thing away. And that’s terrible.

So what’s to be done? Aside from boycotting IKEA (which [Eric] may do in the future for all we know), there’s not much to do but to offer up solutions on public platform and see what happens. To that end, [Eric] came up with five different ways of making this nut driver that are arguably more sustainable than single-use mystery plastic.

Say what you will about sustainability of using metals, which have to be mined, versus plastic – many of these methods use no tooling, so that’s something. Nut drivers made by [Eric] would instead be laser-cut from flat stock and either folded up and welded, or assembled from a multi-piece cut into a single-piece tool via perpendicular members that slot together. Or as [Eric] points out, the design could stay exactly the same as the plastic original and be die-cast instead.

It’s certainly an interesting exercise in design, and it’s really cool to see a little bit into [Eric]’s thought process when it comes to improving existing things. Be sure to check it out after the break, and let us know how you’d have done it better.

91 thoughts on “The Tools To Fight Against Single-Use Plastic

  1. Interesting, but I think this is the wrong solution; the right solution being “supply your own non-disposable tool”. Well made tools last a lifetime or even longer, and they rarely become outdated. There’s no reason to make disposable versions. If Ikea really sells to so many hapless people who own no tools, why not just include a checkbox when you buy the thing that says “add necessary tools to my cart”.

      1. I was pleasantly surprised recently when I bought a bed frame and it actually came with a tiny ratcheting driver with a hex head. It was made almost entirely out of folded and riveted sheet metal, and fits in the palm of my hand.

        I have no idea what I’ll ever use it for, but it’s way too cool to throw away.

  2. Pretty high and mighty pointing at a soda bottle shaped like a nut driver. Isn’t it more a matter of scale and time? How many of the little dinguses do you suppose can be made from a barrel of the plastic? Or from a barrel of oil (or corn starch)? How long and how much power does it take to pump them out of an injection machine or cold molding thingy using equipment that already exists? How many hours of someone’s life?

    Of course, the obvious thing to make him happy is Ikea simply spend the extra 50 cents and include a mass produced nut driver. People are much less likely to throw them into the ocean or whatever it is he is so earnest about.

    1. Yep. There’s probably 50 kg of resins and plastics in an average IKEA piece, and there’s 50 grams in the plastic screwdriver. By not including the tool, you’re optimizing away one part in a thousand of a far bigger problem, which, once solved will make the problem of the screwdriver go away as well.

      This follows what’s called the Parkinson’s Law of Triviality: people typically give disproportionate weight to trivial issues they can solve, while ignoring any larger issues they cannot.

  3. Or they could stamp a number or two into it, like the size and recycling number.

    Or change the desing to a thumbscrew.

    Many options.

    Even just provide it with a phillips bit to use it as a screwdriver when done installing the faucet.

    1. Also looking at it holistically, maybe it saves more waste because the tool doesn’t need to be purchased and shipped separately.

      Don’t get me wrong, I like laser welded screwdrivers. (:

    2. Years ago I assembled a number of TV stands for customers.
      I don’t recall if the manufacturer was Gusdorf or O’Sullivan, but each included a Phillips screwdriver made from bent wire. 40 years later, I still have a couple of those. The bit on those was nearly indestructible.

        1. I think “single use” is because for most people, they don’t have another use. The point of including a tool is because it’s for an exotic fastener, so people aren’t likely to have the tool.

          Heathkit often included a nut starter, people still talk about them. But hobbyists made up a large segment of their customers, so the tool saw extended use. I don’t buy much Ikea stuff, but I’ve kept the tools. Maybe I’ll need to disassemble that chair, or fix it when something came loose. But tools aren’t to discard, so I keep it.

      1. I have bought a lot of IKEA in my life, and what you describe is always the tool that came with anything I’ve assembled; I wasn’t aware IKEA used any other type of fastener. I never use it, of course, long having determined the appropriate size hex bit; my driver saves my hands and wrists a lot of strain. Built my whole kitchen with that, a slotted screwdriver, and a hammer.

    3. Taps don’t work like that. They have a long threaded rod that the nut goes over, hence the need for a deep throated socket. Its also the reason why his third design (flat stock) won’t work.

      These are also typically installed in tight spaces so a spanner won’t work. You really do need this type of tool to do the job right.

    1. While that reduces environmental plastic (Doesn’t eliminate them as escaping micoplastics are likely) it does nothing for the huge waste of energy and CO2 production.

      The sane solution is for IKEA to have a toolbox deposit scheme – you take the tiny toolbox that contains every one of the relatively tiny number of tools anything IKEA may need for a modest fee and security deposit that is returned when the tool box is. And as IKEA sells way more than just flatpack furniture and tends to be located in big urban centres you will likely be dropping by anyway at some point to get your money back, or end up just keeping it and so hit the checkbox that says you have the IKEA tools required and don’t need another toolbox.

      1. It’s a math problem.

        Difference between new feedstocks to make new plastic minus energy recovered from burning the old plastic vs the cost of sorting, cleaning and recycling the old plastic. Do accounting in dollars, CO2 pounds, hippie chick panty drops or Lorax farts. Will get the same answer 99% of the time.

        Burning plastic is recycling it back into fuel.

        1. But not making something has zero cost, not shipping it still zero, so if everyone didn’t get a million ‘free’ tools with their flat pack purchases but owned the one basic toolbox with the few screwdriver bits, the soft and pin hammer, etc that is needed you save a massive amount by just never having brought this stuff into existence at all.

          It was never really needed, I’d be willing to bet the only people that have ever HAD* to use the tool in the flatpack are the just moved out of parents place, traveled a long way to study so didn’t bring much students, and those folks are by their nature rather communal, one of them will have Leatherman/Swiss army knife/toolbox and help you put your stuff together for a beer…

          *HAD to meaning they didn’t already own tools – even if they don’t really use them almost everyone will have the tools IKEA (etc) stuff requires, they are so very very basic, in common sizes and thus required for so many things…

    2. Totally agree. Its the most sensible option. I would love if they put a little fire symbol on plastics to indicate they are safe to burn. I’ve burned a lot of plastic in my wood stove and the fact is that moat plastics burn beautifully, just like candle wax. There just a few like PVC that you absolutely don’t want to burn.

      1. 😳 don’t burn plastics!🔥 They release dioxins and other very harmful toxins. A large waste incineration plant has millions of dollars of equipment and constant monitoring to reduce pollutants in its exhaust but your wood stove doesn’t.

        Reuse, recycle, or send to a landfill where it will just hang out for the next 1000 years.

          1. You’re funny. Regular fire wood cleans petty burn and doesn’t off gas much harmful byproducts, especially if properly ventilated. Unless you’re huffing the fumes it isn’t a huge deal.

            However many formulations of plastic do off gas toxic and dangerous byproducts that you do not want going everywhere.

            As a firefighter for a long time the recovery phase of a fire was not treated very seriously as far as PPE goes. Unfortunately that meant a lot of firefighters have a disproportionate incidence of illness and disease from being at an incident after the fire is put out and inhaling all manner of toxic substances from the building. Now we continue to wear PPE including SCBAs because it turns out when you’re doing recovery you’re disturbing all kinds of terrible things.

            Some plastics can probably be burned with little issue, but wantonly burning all plastics is a bad idea.

    3. Because that would produce a small percentage of the energy required to produce the original plastic part of it was feasible? However, it’s not feasible, because burning many common plastics would produce enough chlorine gas to drastically shorten the lifespan of incinerator and support infrastructure.

  4. In the end, that’s what, 50 grams of plastic? Versus 50 kilograms of plastic with the IKEA furniture. The loss per unit, or the saving if you will, would be about 1 part in a million. How much time and effort will you spend to optimize one part in a million?

    1. 50kg seems quite overestimated, but anyway… You’re looking at it the wrong way: let’s say 100.000 units of this furniture are sold worldwide (probably very understimated quantity). That’s already 5000 kg of single use plastic. So yes, it worths to think about it and find a solution to avoid it.
      And this is for only 1 furniture: repeat for all other ones, all other packaging…
      It’s not because it takes time and efforts that companies should not do it.

      1. Indeed as most IKEA packages are not that heavy in total!
        And even if it was 50 kg that 50 kg lasts many years, maybe even decades, that tool lasts 40 seconds of useful, maybe 4 mins if you end up having to use it twice after an assembly mistake.

        IKEA stuff may be cheap but its mostly at least solid enough to last if you don’t abuse it. So that is a lifespan per mass of plastic for the furniture of say 0.01g ‘waste’ from the furniture in that same 40 seconds the 50 gram tool becomes entirely waste…

        1. Since both the tool and the furniture are essentially single use, it’s meaningless to compare how long each lasts. Every time you have one, you get the other anyways.

          If the furniture didn’t come with the tool, you’d have to supply one separately – in which case you’d need to build a tool that lasts more than one application, which would consume more resources per tool. Since everyone who buys the furniture needs the tool, but they never need to use it twice, this ends up as waste.

          Any sort of “bottle return” scheme would be a waste as well. The tool is worth about a cupful of fuel, which would be consumed instantly by the infrastructure to handle the returns.

          1. You usually end up with many similar IKEA bits at a time – two bedside cabinet, many many parts of the modular storage cupboard things, kitchen units maybe 10 identical ones, heaps of bookcase etc – so in truth the furniture all lasts say a minimum of 5 years usefully, but you only actually used 1/2, 1/10th? maybe even less of the tools they sent with it as that first package you opened provided the tool you used to assemble all the rest. And single use or not the useful lifespan is worth considering – if its single use but lasts to the heat death of the universe its not a waste of resources no matter how much it consumes, if it gets but 10 seconds of use it better not be consuming much in the way of resources, as that is just wasteful, even if you may not need another for a while.

            The tool return isn’t a waste at all, as for many folks they would just keep that one toolbox as the one toolbox they need for everything normal folk may need – so never need to pick up another tool, and no more waste tools being produced at all! And those that don’t keep it wouldn’t spend a cup of fuel to send it back, as they would likely be in the area many many times in short order anyway – effectively with how little weight it constitutes it is a cost free move back to IKEA. Where the person returning it likely was going to stop for the coffee and Cake type break anyway… (at least in the case of my local IKEA by far better value and nicer stuff than most everything else in the immediate area). And even a postal return system isn’t likely to consume close to a cup of fuel, as you love to point out every time you bash EV petrol is rather energy dense, and a million items shuffled around by the same postal system means the share of fuel for each one item is actually pretty damn tiny…

          2. [Foldi-One-Kenobi] states:
            “And those that don’t keep it wouldn’t spend a cup of fuel to send it back,”

            No, but they could toss it into the box destined for their next trip to Goodwill.

      2. >That’s already 5000 kg of single use plastic.

        Yes, but it still compares to millions of kilograms of discarded IKEA furniture made out of vinyl and honeycomb cardboard, which is also single use.

        The house is on fire and you’re putting out candles.

          1. Wood? I’ve never seen that. Even chipboard would be a big improvement.

            Particle board.
            IIRC made by IKEA in their own mondo crap factory. Scrap wood goes in one end, scrap furniture goes out the other. Fools buy.
            I think they own their own tree farms of fast growing soft woods. If the IKEA furniture ends up in landfills, it’s sequestering carbon.

        1. I’m not a fireman, I’m qualified to put out candles but not entire buildings at once.

          Sometimes it’s okay to tackle one small problem at a time, especially if you learn and use that knowledge to find more holistic solutions.

      3. It is so worth the time and effort that one time that pays unseen dividends to reducing trash or polluting the air down the road. And your effort might spill over to other product tool needs. And if the tool is most likely a one use, find a biodegradable resin that will do the job and break down in the trash. I am not in favor of burning any plastic.

  5. Yeah… Supply a tool someone can hurt themselfes on, and someone will. Then sue the company on a ridiculous amount of compensation for their own incompetence. I think that is one reason not to make sharp, easy to break, sheet metal tools.

    Ikea also sells tool kits with simple, but real multi-use tools. I think it would be smarter to just exclude the shitty single-use tools and sell an “fits-all-our-products” tool kit…

    1. This!

      Also, turns out having your own good tools isn’t always better. Don’t make my mistake and use a powerful driver to screw ikea stuff together. Almost put a screw straight through a shelving unit.

      Some stuff like these taps will still need special tools to install. And the tool is better than the petrol calling out a plumber to do it.

      1. There’s definitely an art to using power tools to assemble IKEA furniture. I had to find the right clutch settings to avoid overtightening. But once I did, I saved hours on assembling my kitchen and dining room. And my hands weren’t useless clubs afterwards from gripping undersized tools.

  6. @The Commenter Formerly Known As Ren:
    They used to include something similar with the old Meccano sets – a flat-head screwdriver made from a piece of bent tubed steel/aluminium/whatever, with the bit ground at the end of the shaft. I’ve got a couple of them somewhere.. Very useful, and probably just as indestructible as the ones you are describing.

  7. Let’s be real here. Only two types of plastic are in reality really recycled. First is PET mostly used for plastic bottles used for food. And second is HDPE used for pipes and non-food bottles… Everything else is going into a field covered with dirt.

      1. There’s not much else you can do with most plastics if you’re not allowed to burn them in waste disposal.

        Thermoset plastics cannot be recycled and most thermoplastics have additives for specific uses that render the plastic unsuitable for other cases – and when mixed in the waste stream, for its original use as well. Colors, fire retardants, softeners, hardeners, fillers… there’s so many different formulations that it’s simply not feasible to separate them. That’s why the only plastics that actually get recycled are those like plumbing parts and plastic bottles that tend to be the same stuff all over.

      2. Assuming you mean the USA here’s a Guardian piece:

        And NPR:

        Matches my recollection that we had been shipping most of it to paces that would then throw it in the ocean. I believe we’ve switched to throwing it in landfill recently as those other places have become scarce.

        I’ve heard that the rational behind the massive amount of plastic sorting we do is down to not wanting people to loose the habit. Why doesn’t ever seem to come up.

    1. Well, PET is mostly not recycled – it’s downcycled into cheap fabric (polyester fiber) because of quality issues. After that, it goes to landfill or incineration.

      You can only put about 10-15% recycled PET back into a thing like plastic bottles before it starts to affect the overall quality; since it all goes around in a loop (it’s recycling, duh) using any more would start to accumulate faults like contaminants and degraded polymers that are chemically different from the original stuff. By recycling only a small amount, the faults are diluted away with new plastic.

      That’s also why plastics recycling is not really a thing. It’s a misnomer – the recycled plastics are simply re-used once or twice in the best case, but it all ends up in the tip anyways.

        1. “can extract over 70% virgin grade plastics and chemical raw materials components from plastic waste”

          30% round-trip loss is still terrible. If you put the same plastic through the process repeatedly an infinite number of times, what you end up with is just 2.8 times the useful material. This is not better to down-cycling the plastic into lower grade products once or twice.

          If we define “recycling” as reducing the need of virgin materials to less than 5% of the market, the recovery rate for recycling should be better than 95.2%

          1. Also mind that not 100% of the recyclable material actually gets collected, because it’s mixed with other materials that makes separation not feasible, or it is simply lost along the way and never picked up.

          2. The bigger problem might just be the recovery and not the recycling.

            The EU average recycling rate for aluminum cans is just 75%. If you lose a quarter of the material every time through the cycle, you’re not actually saving much by recycling.

          3. “If you lose a quarter of the material every time through the cycle, you’re not actually saving much by recycling.”

            I beg to differ. That is a huge improvement over saving nothing. For aluminium cans using recycled material uses only 5% of the energy compared to making virgin aluminium and using that.

            And where i come, we have 97% recycling rate for aluminium cans.

          4. >I beg to differ. That is a huge improvement over saving nothing

            But it’s still not a sustainable solution by far. It goes in the right direction, but if you can’t improve from 75% to 95% and above then it’s all in vain.

            The fundamental problem is that we don’t have effective means of separating materials in the waste stream, so we’re relying on people to do it, and we’re terrible at it. The real solution is to develop means to process mixed waste streams rather than rely on people to drop their aluminum cans in the correct bin.

          5. ‘Can extract over 70% virgin grade plastic’ isn’t the whole picture.
            What is the energy cost? They’re talking about breaking plastic back down to feedstocks and repolymerizing fresh plastic.

            You can typically get more then 70% of the energy content of plastic out of it by burning it blended with gas. Much simpler and cheaper.

            The referenced article is an add by the way. They’re looking for money to build a pilot plant.
            Eight patents! That’s typically one idea.

          6. Dude: “But it’s still not a sustainable solution by far. It goes in the right direction, but if you can’t improve from 75% to 95% and above then it’s all in vain.”

            Perhaps – but if you shift large amounts of plastic to be bio sourced, it becomes rather more sustainable to make up the shortfalls and over the medium-long term means a reduction of CO2 in the atmosphere. Or at least neutrality if you burn the waste parts at EOL. So even a tiny percent recycled cuts down on the amount of biomass you need to create this ‘new’ plastic, a this substantial percentage* makes entirely ‘biowaste’ derived plastic actually plausible going forward…

            *Which when the current stuff might actually be approaching 100% of the actually plastic parts recycled as its not clear if they a measuring by weight including all the contaminants in the incoming to be recycled stock etc – which I’d suggest they likely are as its by far the easiest way to measure your viability ship in x tonnes get out y with z ‘waste’ some of which could easily be other recyclable stuff like metals in small quantity that sneak through any separation steps.

          7. Should note I’m not convinced this mob are anything but jumping on the ‘green’ funding bandwagon without a real practical deliverable solution, burning it for energy may sadly still be a better option. But that spiel at least seems plausible, just rather light on details. May get round to digging into what is available on their methods one day, if they have patents its usually a good indication of how it works.

          8. “But it’s still not a sustainable solution by far. It goes in the right direction, but if you can’t improve from 75% to 95% and above then it’s all in vain. ”

            How is it all in vain? At the very least you can push the “the end” of the material to far future with some energy savings and at best it saves a lot of energy and pushes the end of the material to even further into the far future (like in the case of aluminium) and saves environment too.
            And perhaps in the mean time you come up with a solution to make it “sustainable” near or to 100% recyclable, but imho 75% recycling is huge.

            And about the the article being an ad, kind of yes, but VTT is a non-profit research centre.

            I just think it sounds promising. I just linked it here to give some hope on recycling plastics.

      1. “Downcycling” is still recycling. Even if plastic is only used twice, that’s still a 50% reduction in plastic usage.

        Few plastics can be reused indefinitely, because they break down with every use.

  8. The above was meant to be a reply, but seen that a lot on mobile /w privacy browser …

    Anyhow, what I do, is don’t use the IKEA tools, but return them next time. They actuallyreuse the tools.

    Granted, only on the parts bins @ customer support, still a start. If they get overwhelmed, that also forces action.

    So do the right thing and vote by reuse! Send that message.

  9. For all we know that tool is biodegradable plastic designed to be thrown away after one use – Ikea may not be perfect (which big company is) but they do make a fair amount of effort on this stuff.

    1. That’s greenwashing at its best. No one trows those in the biowaste bin (if you even have those in your area!) and if you do so it gets sorted out at the facility, because it’s only biodegradable under special conditions in industrial composters…

      It will end up where all the other plastic waste ends up.

    1. Lol, I thought you were kidding, but he literally says “anything that’s plastic is literally garbage” at the end after pitching the molding service at the beginning. Wonder how the view looks from up there on his horse.

      1. It’s like Ayn Rand accepting social aid money.

        The argument is that welfare is wrong, but the fault is with the people who offer it, not the people who accept it. If a plastics molding company is funding a person who says plastics is murder, it’s not a fault of the latter.

        1. Once forced to pay in it would be insane not to take what you have coming.

          For most people, including Rand, SS is not welfare, it’s a forced retirement plan/Ponzi scheme with terrible ROI. Only the lifetime minimum wage earners get ‘welfare’ from SS, everybody else could do better.

          It was welfare/pay for votes for the first generation. But that ended with FDRs endless reelection, after that they were ‘What have you done for us lately?’.

  10. If you buy a Sonim XP8, you get a metal flat blade driver for the battery door. They include one when you buy a “rescue” kit, but, no metal screw driver for the tiny Phillips. Though it’s target user certainly has tiny screw drivers handy, probably on at least one on an EDC multi-tool.

    If the battery door could fit a normal flat blade, that would be better. But, I think they did it the way they did so people would use the stainless tool as to not cause a spark in a hazardous environment.

  11. I would go a step further, make the driver part of the tap itself (which is already metal). That way it will most definitely be used and it also is on the tap itself if ever you need to adjust anything.

  12. Since this is a specialty tool, it’s never going to be in anyone’s tool kit (unless you’re a plumber).
    I think the right solution is that Ikea should charge a small price for the tool and refund it upon return, then they can figure out how to recycle them. I would love to return the 50 little hex keys that I’ve accumulated over the years…

  13. I have that exact nut driver, because I installed once that faucet. I store it on my car because I found that it’s the same size of the retaining bolt of my car battery.
    Maybe Ikea should print type of plastic and nut size to make the tool more recuclable and useful.

  14. Instead of getting all high and mighty and showing a video showcasing your skills, how about ALTERNATE USES OR THINGS WE CAN DO WITH THE DRIVER WHEN DONE.

    Add a brush to the end
    Use it with a magnet for a pickup tool.


  15. The packaging costs more than the typical free tools, and takes more energy to produce and is poorly recycled. I find the concern around a 30 g plastic nut driver or allen wrench when you have an 30 kg coffee table MDF packed in 3 kg of cardboard, foam, and plastic wrap.

    The most efficient in materials would be to buy used furniture. But labor costs for delivery can exceed the price for an IKEA flat packed unit. Consumers realize this pretty quickly, we’re not idiots, we’re trying to get the most out of the money we spend. Yeah, if we spent three times as much for some solid oak or birch plywood furniture it would last 20 times longer. But how rare is it that you have three times more money than you need?

    1. >The most efficient in materials would be to buy used furniture.
      Not sure that is universally more efficient either – the solid furniture that will last well enough to be commonly available as used generally doesn’t flatpack, so its rather likely to get lots MORE packing material to protect it and fill internal voids to hold the shelves in place etc than a similar flatpack, and it doesn’t pack down as densely which means the delivery vehicle can’t carry nearly as much…

      I do agree though its usually going to be most efficient, as really good quality real wood furniture with genuine honest to god carpentry should last way more than 20x longer than the flatpack stuff, and more importantly will survive being moved around much much better.

  16. I have many Ikea tools in my shop. I probably wouldn’t throw this one away either. But I probably wouldn’t ever have a need for it again unless I needed to take the furniture apart. I don’t have a socket set that deep so if you needed a really deep socket to put the kit together we’ld all be sending the furniture back.

    Plastic isn’t going away yet. The last TV we bought had plastic clips holding the box together, and plastic handles to lift the box. And styrofoam to keep to protect the TV during shipping. Someday someone will make a law making it illegal to use these products. Just like the NY law against throw away plastic bags. (We reused the bags to pick up after our pooch and we’ll probably have to pay for them after we run out of our two year stockpile).

    I also have a 3D printer in my shop. So I am part of the problem too. Too bad as I love making plastic parts to fix things I would otherwise have to throw away. Like a custom flange bushing with a latch to hold the bulb in the headlight in my car, or the hinges on a 40 year old cooler, or inset closet door latches with a lip…

    Please do not outlaw plastic. It would be better to figure out how to recycle it.

  17. It seems kinda pointless to complain about the tool and it’s material and then propose “solutions” that are worse and probably more energy intensive and polluting to produce than the original.

    And I’m more annoyed by the several kilograms of paper instruction manuals, compliance sheets, assembly instructions etc you’re left with after constructing Ikea furniture. They could save probably a few hundred tons of paper each year by simply having the paperwork in a holder in the self-service warehouse and let you grab one when you need it. I don’t need the same 12 booklets in 6 languages with every single one of the 4 identical closets I’m buying, I could have done with absolutely none of them since it’s all on the internet (And I don’t need no friggin manuals for Ikea furniture in the first place because it’s all bleedin’ obvious how it goes together)

  18. HP used to have the 500 sheet feeder for the laserjet4’s and they gave you two identical screwdrivers with them, and they were built so the tips cracked off at the correct torque. I thought it was quite clever really. I have built a lot of IJEA stuff for people over the years and I have learned if you are using power drivers, even with the clutch on the lowest setting just momentum of the chuck can ream out the particle board, and IKEA is actually pretty high end for bolt together furniture. I have not hit on any products that come with one use tools, usually if anything they come with one or two Allen wrenches, and they stay with the customer. If a single use it may be so it dies before you damage the product.

  19. Ikea has a lot to think about regarding sustainability…
    In (at least) some of their stores, they use light projectors to permanently display on the florr an arrow indicating the circulation direction. And there are a lot of arrows on the floor all around the store!
    So there are a lot of lights turned on, so consuming electricity and wearing out bulbs (probably LED ones, so with electronics inside) all day long just to display arrows on the floor. What a non-sense!

    1. I don’t know that I’d call that nonsense, as painting a surface is rather permanent, at least to be worth the effort with all that footfall it better be and so likely is higher than ideal in VOC emissions. Will be pretty hard and intensive process to clean off when a longer term layout change happens and has no flexibility for a short term redirection too. Plus its adding some to the ambient light levels which is something they would need to do anyway so you can actually see what you may end up buying properly.

      Does it have a cost, absolutely, is it a ridiculous cost I’d have to say not really, seems like you can easily find bigger fish to fry first, like my local store the escalators run continuously yet have bollards that mean the trolley can’t really use them easily (despite the locking trolley type belt) so any travel between the car park and entry/exit levels tends to be done with the elevators. I’d think just one of those belts consumes more than the entire store of projection arrow lights when its running around largely empty all day…

  20. Hey Guys, I have often wondered why places that sell assemble it yourself items don’t have a tool kit available that can be added to the order as a returnable item. The customer adds the kit to the order if needed, the company ships the tool kit with a self return shipping label and charges a deposit equal to the value of the tools + return shipping. I have seen this done on some special engine parts back in the 1970s. Of course in the 1960s we had lots of return for deposit items… Milk bottles, beer kegs n bottles, soft drink bottles… Now that so much of the things we buy come from large factories often located very far away, I am surprised that someone has not come up with the idea of local service groups that represent several products. I think this could save a lot of money for manufacturers and improve how the customers feel about the company that sold the items. Call me nuts but it worked at one point in our history why not now?

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