Recycled plastic spreads new light
Do you ever wonder what really happens to the PET-bottles you recycle? In many cases, the plastics are transformed into new things. Here at IKEA, we make things like kitchen cabinets, storage boxes and desk screens from recycled PET-plastic. VINTERGATA lamp is one of the latest additions to this list. Each lamp shade contains plastic from 24 half-liter bottles. With its felted lamp shade, it spreads both light and a warming feeling - and a little bit of hope for a more sustainable world.
Each year, billions of PET-bottles are used around the world. A lot of the plastic is recycled, but we are convinced that we must all become better at recycling more. That's why we strive to develop even more products made from recycled plastic and to limit the use of new oil-based materials. VINTERGATA lamp is an example of this. But the project actually started with a desire for a new feel. Claes Wåxnäs, who works with developing new lamps, continues. "Many lamps have lamp shades made of metal, but this can sometimes give off a cold feeling. We wanted to make a lamp with a softer and more homely feel."
Recycled bottles become soft felt
Claes and his colleagues came to think of molded felt, which is used for our BEKANT desk with screen. "We saw many advantages with the felt material besides it having a soft feel. On the one hand, we use it already and know how to mold the material into the different shapes", explains Claes while lifting the lamp, "and on the other hand, felt is made from recycled plastic to a large extent." So far, 45% of the material comes from recycled PET-bottles, while 55% comes from new raw material. The reason for this is technical limitations, but Claes is convinced that the trend is heading towards a greater proportion of recycled materials. "So that the felt can be molded into shape, it requires a mix of different types of fibers, and one of these is still not made from recycled PET-plastic. But I believe that it's only a matter of time before fiber development has caught up", says Claes.
A material for the future
Designer Gustav Carlberg wanted the soft feeling of felt to also characterize the shape of VINTERGATA. "We kept trying until we got this peach-like shape which narrows at the top and bottom", says Gustav, and explains how the entire design is built from five bowl-shaped and stable felt parts. They fit into each other in the packaging and then snap together, slightly overlapping, so that light emits between them. "Since the felt is so compact, it was important to make the design airy and for it to spread light." For Gustav, it was rewarding to get to work with a completely new material, and most probably not the last time. "Molded felt is an exciting material that I see us making many other things with. Using recycled materials is good for the planet and for all of us. Quite simply, it's the future."