Plastic is a key material for IKEA and remains so going forward. It is strong, durable, lightweight, and versatile. It is a main component in a large amount of our products and has a wide variety of applications from surface materials such as paint and foil, to screws and shelf pegs. There is a lot of valid concern regarding how plastic impacts the environment and at IKEA we take this very seriously. As part of our larger circular journey and transition from virgin fossil-based material, we are working hard to change all plastic in our home furnishing products to plastic made from recycled and/or renewable raw materials.
You've just put leftovers after eating into a food container, but can't find a lid that fits. Or maybe you've put a food container in the fridge with food in it, but you can't see what's inside the food container and completely forget about the food. These were things we heard time and time again when interviewing families about their experiences. “We wanted to develop products to make this easier,” says David Granath, a product developer who has worked with the project. “They should be simple and flexible. And easy to combine and use in ways that suit every household.”
“It can involve things like using the same food container for several steps and just changing the lid. There shouldn't be any unnecessary extra work along the way,” says David. Transparent containers increase the chances that the food is consumed. And it must be easy to adapt the containers to serve different needs. “People asked for a coherent system for food storage. Not complicated special gadgets, yet rather simple and straightforward products that can be used often.”
The IKEA 365+ food containers and lids can be combined and also come in different materials and sizes. They are super simple – and that's the point. “We've put a lot of work into them, for example by seeing to it that all the different parts fit together. But the product itself is simple in a smart way.” We can't solve the entire food waste problem – but we can make it possible for everyone to be part of the solution.
Plastic is most derived from oil and gas, which are non-renewable fossil sources. These materials do not renew themselves and will eventually be depleted. Our ambition is that by 2030, all plastic used in our products will be based on renewable or recycled materials. Renewable plastic is made from materials such as vegetable oil, corn, wheat grain and sugar cane. Recycled plastic allows us to give a second life to non-biodegradable products such as PET bottles that would otherwise end up in landfill. Using recyclable sources also lessens our dependency on oil as a raw material. Currently more than 40% of our plastic products are based on recycled and renewable materials and our aim is to reach 100%. As we add products made from recycled and renewable materials to our offer, we hope to inspire other companies to do the same.
Single-use plastic items pollute ecosystems if not disposed of responsibly. As part of our commitment to people and the planet, all single-use plastic products from the global home furnishing range were phased out in 2020. This includes items such as plates, cups and plastic straws offered in our restaurants, bistros, and cafes. These were replaced by disposables made from 100% renewable sources.
Polythylene terephthalate (PET) and Polypropylene (PP) are durable, hygienic, and shatter-resistant plastics. They absorb very little water and have good chemical resistance. Both PET and PP can be reused and recycled, which reduces waste and gives the product several lives through use and reuse. PET is the most recycled plastic in the world and can be used for many different purposes such as plastic bottles and containers for packaging food and beverages as well as for personal care products, pharmaceuticals, and many other consumer products. At IKEA we mainly use recycled PET in boxes, filling material for textiles and kitchen front foil. PET is approved by health-agencies as safe to use for food and beverage. IKEA uses recycled PET that is post-consumer based, which means it is based on collected and sorted PET bottles.
IKEA takes product safety very seriously and all products are tested and comply with the strictest possible laws and safety standards on all IKEA markets. Customers should always feel confident that products bought at IKEA are safe and healthy to use. IKEA wants to minimize or totally refrain from the use of chemicals and substances that can be harmful to people and the environment.
Our journey towards only using recycled or renewable plastic will take some time and require new ways of doing things, but we are determined to take responsibility and find new solutions. We want to give our customers the possibility to choose products made from more sustainable materials that can be recycled again one day. Together, we can make a significant difference!