Turning our waste into resources
At IKEA, we work every day toward creating positive changes for people and the planet. Saving energy and resources—at home and at work—is a top priority. We've worked this way since our very beginning more than 70 years ago, setting ambitious goals and challenging ourselves to innovate. To improve, we continue asking ourselves hard questions. What can we do better? Are we taking enough responsibility? Can we save energy and resources by using our waste in new ways?
We answer some of these questions in ways everyone can see, like investing in wind turbines and solar panels for IKEA stores, selling only LED and offering lots of products from recycled materials.
Doing more with store-related waste
Behind the scenes at IKEA stores and companies, we save energy and resources, too. Last year, 78% of IKEA waste was recycled. While we work to increase that number, we launch projects at IKEA stores to help eliminate waste in a cycle of repair, reuse and recycling. Some stores have held mattress take-backs for energy recovery and recycling. Other stores have collected used and unwanted textiles for donation and recycling. Since 2013, a project team at IKEA has been looking at store-related waste in an entirely different way—as new raw material for IKEA products. The team started by looking at the plastic film that's wrapped around pallets of IKEA products before transport. What did they find? SKRUTT desk pad!
To make SKRUTT, the plastic film collected from IKEA stores in Italy and France is made into granules through a process of sorting, grinding, washing, drying and filtering. The granules then go to an IKEA supplier where they are blended with a bit of virgin plastic and colouring, extruded, sized, cut and packaged. Then SKRUTT desk pads go back home! They're sold in the very same stores where they started as plastic film waste—and make their way to lots of IKEA stores across the world, too. “I’m really proud that my store is participating in this project and especially to say that a bit of simple sorting every day can bring us new products,” says Vincent Locatelli, a co-worker who helps collect waste for SKRUTT from an IKEA store in France.
Beginning with plastic film waste
Producing SKRUTT desk pad from IKEA waste leads to reductions in virgin oil use, carbon dioxide emissions and energy consumption. And SKRUTT is recyclable, too. "SKRUTT desk pad is an example of what we can achieve from using our own IKEA waste from stores," says Annika Persson, communication specialist on the project team. "And this is only the beginning." While Annika and the IKEA project team pursue more ways to reuse our plastic waste, they're already working on other store-related waste, too. "We're also collecting cardboard because it can be reused and turned back into packaging material or into new IKEA products," explains Kent Larsson, a business developer on the project team. So, when you buy products like SKRUTT, you're doing more than protecting your desk. Together, we’re reducing waste, closing the loop and taking responsibility.