You can’t tell, but ISTAD is a whole new bag
The resealable IKEA plastic bags you use all around the house and even on the go are now being made with a renewable material. ISTAD bags are mostly made from plastic that comes from the sugar cane industry.* The material is both renewable and recyclable itself.
Changing to this type of renewable plastic for creating ISTAD is a move toward our goal of making sure all plastic IKEA products are made with recycled or renewable material. And, though the plastic bags are small in size, with more than one billion sold every year, we think this is a considerable and positive step along the way.
"It’s a fantastic journey,” says Alexander Grouleff who’s working with plastic innovation at IKEA. “And it’s an extremely exciting challenge.”
Making the most of our planet’s resources
Alexander's job is to bring new plastic technologies to the product developers at IKEA. He introduces them to alternatives and options that can replace fossil fuel plastics and move IKEA closer to the goal of working exclusively with recycled or renewable plastics.
“ISTAD is a fantastic product in many ways,” says Alexander. “It was one of my favourite products before. Now, even more so.”
Alexander admits to relying on ISTAD for many years when it comes to food storage and packing his toothbrush for travel. He could always sort travel-worn ISTAD bags into his regular plastic recycling, and that’s something he can still do with the new version. That's because Alexander and his team believe it's not enough to just offer products made from renewable plastics—our products shouldn't become waste themselves.
“It’s about using better materials and closed loop thinking," Alexander says. "We apply that to everything we do." Closed loop thinking is the idea that there isn't an end-of-life for any material. Instead, products can be continuously recycled, up-cycled, down-cycled—whatever! But never wasted.
No need to choose between sustainability and quality
Changing the material ISTAD is made from hasn’t changed anything else. IKEA developers have worked to ensure the new ISTAD is of the same quality as before, passing all the essential health, safety and strength tests.
As part of our goal to provide better products at lower prices, we're working to make it simple and affordable for customers to live a more sustainable life at home. Changing the type of plastic ISTAD is made from, and not changing the quality or value, is one way to do that.
“We would like to be sure customers feel they can make a better choice by purchasing products at IKEA,” says Alexander. “It's about really making sure that sustainability is not a luxury, it's for the many people.”
*ISTAD bags are made of plastic that consists of at least 85% renewable content.