Polyester is a durable, wrinkle-resistant and easy-care material that is ideal for many home furnishing products like rugs, pillows, quilts and cushions.
The downside to virgin polyester is that it is made from oil, coal or natural gas. This means that when we use virgin polyester, we are exhausting the planet’s natural resources. Our response to this, is to replace all virgin polyester with recycled in our products.
In 2020, we achieved the milestone of replacing 79% of the virgin polyester used in IKEA textile products and will accelerate the transformation towards the aim of only using recycled polyester throughout the product range where polyester is used.
Name your closest work colleague. We think it's your office chair— silently supporting you. Developing one is complex because of how much it must adjust. So with HATTEFJÄLL swivel chair, we made a simple decision to design an ergonomic office chair that looks and feels like all the rest, right? We worked differently instead.
"I didn't want the chair to look like anything else that existed," explains Ola Kristensson, a product developer who led the team.
Why? More people work from home. And more people live in small spaces, so a home office can be in a kitchen or living room. More workplaces also want to feel homey. These changes called for a change of thinking and working.
So Ola called in experienced designer Monika Mulder. This would be her first office chair. Ola knew it would be ergonomic thanks to the team’s expertise—and look different thanks to her fresh eyes and new ideas.
Monika set out to design a new ergonomic office chair. Simple, right? Ola knew working this way could be a challenge, but he was sure the result would be right.
When she presented her first sketches, nothing worked as-is. She had followed Ola’s brief with images and keywords like 'modernistic, inviting and human.' But she hadn’t separated the back and seat, so the chair wasn’t very adjustable.
Luckily, one sketch was a starting point, and they proceeded. She made a clay scale model to get a better feel for shape and paid close attention to the back—an office chair’s most-seen part.
"We wanted people to look twice at the chair, to turn around," Monika says. "HATTEFJÄLL has a very subtle waist. It indicates lower back support and brings in ergonomic and emotional comfort."
Ola and Monika visited the prototype maker to refine the chair's form. The rest of the process was simple, right? Maybe it would’ve been if HATTEFJÄLL only had to look different and welcoming. But
it also needed to be ergonomic.
So the team worked to secure adjustable functions like seat height, seat depth and lumbar support to properly fit and comfort a wide range of body sizes and personal preferences.
"We'd test, change, sit, change, sit, discuss, measure, add, take away, get excited, get annoyed," Monika says. "As soon as we changed something for ergonomics, I adapted the shape."
International industrial standards had to be met, too. So among other tests, the chair was swiveled hundreds of times, tilted, pushed, rolled, burned and even had weights dropped on it.
After HATTEFJÄLL went into production, the tests were over, right? Almost! The chair should pass a final test to see if the team achieved one of their goals. Would people look twice?
It passed the test by its own designer! One day, Monika was at the IKEA office for another project.
"I was going home when a chair caught my eye," she says. "I was like ‘That’s a nice chair. Oh! It’s my chair!'"
We hope it catches your eye and supports you whether you're at home or at the office. And we hope you've seen we don't always take the simple way, but it works.
Originally, all polyester was made from oil-based raw materials which are not renewable but we are switching to only using recycled polyester. The good thing is that polyester can be recycled over and over, without negatively affecting the quality of our products.
When we make products from recycled polyester, we give a second life to material that is not biodegradable and reduce the amount that may otherwise end up in landfill or the ocean. Instead, PET and other sources of polyester are used to make textiles, storage boxes, kitchen fronts and even lamps.
Recycled polyester is just as good as virgin polyester in terms of looks, quality and function, and produces about 50% less in CO2 emissions. And the material is just as clean and safe in every way.
Recycled polyester makes us less dependent on oil. The amount we convert, is equal to the amount of virgin fossil fuel we eliminate from our polyester raw material (this excludes potential dyeing and other post recycled polyester production treatments).
With some exceptions, the challenge is not the conversion of polyester into recycled itself, but to make it available to everyone by keeping it affordable. Buying low environmental impact products often comes with a higher price tag. We want to change that by working to make recycled polyester products more affordable and accessible to the many people.
IKEA is committed to end the dependency on virgin fossil materials and only use renewable or recycled materials by 2030.
We are accelerating this movement for polyester in our range and aim to replace all virgin polyester in our textile products with recycled. In 2020, IKEA replaced 79% of the virgin polyester used in IKEA textile products with recycled polyester. In volume, this means we converted 130,000 metric tonnes of recycled polyester, and saved 200,000 tonnes of virign polyester.
We haven’t reached our 100% goal yet, but we have come far and overcome many obstacles on the way. These volumes make us a leader in converting to recycled polyester and we hope that our decisions can inspire and motivate whole industries to change.
At IKEA, we demand that all recycled polyester used in IKEA products shall come from recyclers that are compliant with the Global Recycled Standard and traceability is secured to the IKEA product through requirements toward the IKEA Suppliers.
By only using recycled polyester that meets the Global Recycled Standards we manage to secure social, environmental and chemical practices at the recycler’s production. We believe that the GRS standard is the best standard on the market today. We work with our partners and textile organisations such as Textile Exchange to further improve standards on recycled materials, including traceability of material beyond the recycling units.