Imagine counting out how many times you came into contact with paper in the last week? From takeaway cups, to tissues, to packaging and newspapers, chances are it wouldn't take long to lose track.
Which stands to reason, paper is such a useful material that over 400 million tons are produced around the world each year. Our goal is to minimise paper's impact on the planet, that's why we use recycled paper as much as possible, make fresh paper from responsibly sourced wood and design products that use less raw materials without losing any of their practicality.
Products like the TJENA and KVARNVIK storage boxes.
Thinking inside the box
"Sustainability is part of a common goal that we put into all our products," says Jakub Brat, one of the developers of TJENA and KVARNVIK. "The fewer raw materials we use to make a product without taking away it's functionality or quality, means we can reduce each products environmental impact and lower its price too."
It's this goal of using less raw materials and better use of recycled paper that's shaped the development of the TJENA and KVARNVIK storage boxes.
"Our idea for these boxes was to design storage for magazines, stationery — things around the home," Jakub explains. "So once we had determined practical sizes and how strong they had to be, we looked at the best way to construct them."
The right recycle ratio
Paper is amazingly versatile in that, after its life as a newspaper or cereal box, it can be washed down into a pulp and reused as something else. As part of the recycling process some of the paper is washed away so fresh paper needs to be added. This fresh paper (also known as virgin paper) uses wood pulp that comes from forests following our strict requirements to ensure that the wood is grown and harvested responsibly.
"The boxes are made of at least 80% recycled paper and up to 20% virgin paper," Jakub says. "The reason we add virgin paper is because it has fresh fibres which are stronger and give needed strength to recycled parts.”
By making the boxes with a recyled paper core and a virgin paper surface, we can use as much recycled paper as possible, while still securing a strong storage box. Along with the strength boost, it also lets us print patterns and colours in a nice way too.
Resource saving design
Along with material, the other way we looked to make the boxes more sustainable was the design itself.
"TJENA is actually replacements for previous box storage we made called KASSETT," Jakub says. "Which though popular, was a little fussy to put together with screws to hold the parts in place."
Taking away the screws, an envelope style construction was developed, which has the double advantage of being 100% recyclable as well as easier to put together.
We're looking to continue developing ways to use paper in the most responsible way, from ensuring our paper comes from more sustainable sources, to reusing paper waste to make something new. Even after you've had years of practical service from these boxes, they can be recycled into something useful again.
What is paperboard?
Paperboard is a thick and durable material that often comprises of several layers of paper and has many different uses. At IKEA we use paperboard in everything from packaging and sturdy storage boxes to games and other children's products. We strive for using recycled paper in our paperboard and the production is completely free from harmful substances.