Previously, when you purchased LED lightbulbs at Ikea, they in all probability would have been in a plastic blister pack—one thing that’s each onerous to open and more likely to find yourself within the trash, since most plastic packaging isn’t recycled. However the firm’s latest line of bulbs now is available in paper bins as an alternative. It’s one step in Ikea’s plan to systemically section out plastic packaging.
By 2025, all new Ikea merchandise will are available plastic-free packaging, apart from some meals merchandise that want to make use of it for meals security and to stop meals waste. By 2028, all present merchandise will even be packaged with out plastic, a part of Ikea’s bigger objective to transition to change into a totally “round” firm.
[Photo: Ikea]Many new packages will use paper, although the corporate is exploring different supplies. “Paper is an excellent materials to make use of as a result of it does come from renewable sources, and it has fairly sturdy round capabilities,” says Maja Kjellberg, packaging innovation chief at Ikea. “However we’re not limiting ourselves to paper. We do need to use different supplies going ahead. And we’ve an innovation program ongoing proper now the place we’re scouting on startups and scale-ups to search out new methods of packing merchandise and different supplies that aren’t wooden and fiber based mostly.”
The corporate beforehand explored mushroom-based packaging to exchange styrofoam, for instance, although for now, it’s too tough for producers to supply the size of packaging Ikea wants. Different startups are exploring packaging supplies produced from waste from the meals business, from coconuts to the byproducts of beer brewing. Ikea can also be starting to make use of waste from its personal manufacturing in some packages, corresponding to packaging for textiles sewn from scraps of the fabric.
[Photo: Ikea]The corporate at present spends greater than 1 billion euros a yr (roughly, practically $113 billion) on round 920,000 tons of packaging materials. A lot of it is already paper; for furnishings in cardboard flat packs, Ikea shifted away from utilizing polystyrene packaging contained in the bins a number of years in the past, changing it with cardboard tubes and different paper helps. Solely round 10% of the corporate’s packaging is now plastic. Of what stays, some is tougher to vary than others.
[Photo: Ikea]“For a few years, we’ve been utilizing plastic, and it’s been driving prices down but additionally driving us additional away from our sustainability targets,” says Kjellberg. “I believe it’s important to actually have a look at the vary and to take a look at the precise product and see, [why] are we actually utilizing the plastic? In some circumstances, possibly there isn’t at all times a really clear cause, after which it’s really fairly straightforward to eliminate that plastic, whereas in different circumstances, we’re utilizing plastics for a really particular cause. After which it is usually a bit tougher to search out the correct resolution to nonetheless guarantee product high quality and to allow automation, and at a value that’s inexpensive, [so we] can supply inexpensive merchandise to our clients.”
When Ikea makes use of plastic in some meals packaging, each due to regulatory necessities and efficiency, it plans to shift to recycled or plant-based materials slightly than virgin plastic produced from fossil fuels. “Plastic for now could be, in lots of circumstances, probably the most sustainable possibility, in comparison with packing one thing in paper, after which the shelf life could be a lot decrease, otherwise you’d have extra meals waste, which is even worse from a sustainability perspective,” Kjellberg says. “So plastic will be utilized in meals. However after we nonetheless have to make use of the plastics, we will be sure that they’re from renewable sources or recycled.”