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.
Sometimes it can feel like the things we have collected through the years control us instead of the other way around. And it can be tricky to find the right place to store all the things we need, but don’t use every day. Storage adapted to the rougher areas of the home, is one way to get around the problem. It can help you organize things in the not-so-organized garage, down in the basement, up in the attic or even under the floorboards. And protect your things from humidity, dust and scary spiders.
Do you want to get organized and stay that way? You’re not alone. With boxes in different sizes, it becomes easier to find just the right place for everything, both the nick-nacks and the big and heavy stuff. And you can make better use of the nooks and crannies you have at home. You can have small boxes for little things and tiny spaces, and large boxes wherever you have space to spare.
Sometimes it can feel like the home is a black hole where things get lost all the time. A lid on your storage box can be a simple solution for that. Some of the lids come with the boxes when you buy them, and some are sold separately. A few have locks that seal the boxes and protect what’s inside – it’s good in damp environments like storage rooms and garages. Many boxes become stackable when you put lids on them, but for safety reasons, you shouldn’t stack them higher than 35".
A storage box doesn’t always have to be something you put stuff in, put away and then forget. But if you want to do that, colored boxes are probably something for you. With different colors for different things, it becomes easier to organize your belongings. Transparent boxes are perfect for stuff you often look for, like gadgets or tools. You get a quick overview of what’s inside the boxes without having to pull them out – something that can save both time and frustration.
Some boxes might look the same, but that doesn’t mean they are manufactured in the same way or with similar materials. The best way to find out if they can take everyday use (and some unexpected events) is to test them. Then you can be sure that the stuff you store – your collections, necessities and memories – stay undamaged and safe. Here are some of the tests we do for our boxes.
To make sure the handles hold, and that the construction is sturdy, we have a strong machine that does a lift test. It imitates a person who lifts up a box with up to 110 lbs. Just like someone that stores seasonal things in the garage might do. The machine lifts the box up to 10,000 times. That’s equal to if you would take out and put back your holiday decorations once a year for more than 2,000 years
Everyday life puts tough demands on our objects at home. That’s why we think it’s important to test our boxes. To make sure they can be dragged on hard and uneven floor surfaces, we have a machine that pushes and pulls the boxes, with weights inside them – up to 10,000 times – depending on which box we’re testing. The biggest boxes are tested with up to 110 lbs, or a collection of approximately 200 paperback books. With the test, we control that the construction and the materials work as expected. So you can drag and pull heavy stuff on rough floors for years and years.
If you have a lot of things to stow away, you might want to stack boxes on top of each other. It saves valuable floor space and gives room for other parts of life than storage. We always test our boxes by putting weights in them and then stacking them. The test is done to control that the lids, the wheels and the bottom of the boxes aren’t affected by heavy weights. It’s also a way to see how high the boxes can be stacked before they become unstable. To reduce the tipping risk, we recommend that you don’t stack them higher than 35".
Plastic is most commonly derived from oil and gas, which are non-renewable fossil sources. These sources 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 big difference!