HP and Ikea join commitment to create global supply chain for ocean-bound plastics

HP and Ikea have joined a business consortium committed to incorporating ocean-bound plastics in new packaging and product materials by developing the first global supply chain for plastics that are seeping into the oceans.

The two companies have joined the NextWave Plastics initiative, set up by Dell Technologies and positive impact company Lonely Whale last year. The initiative aims to “turn off the tap” of plastic entering the ocean by creating a global demand for the material amongst businesses.

HP and Ikea have joined founding members Bureo, Herman Miller, Humanscale and Interface to work on the global uptake of ocean-bound plastics. Bike manufacturer Trek Bicycle is also part of the initiative.  

Ikea’s decision to join the consortium forms part of its updated sustainability strategy, which features a headline target to become ‘climate positive’ by 2030. The strategy also commits the retailer to remove all single-use plastic products across stores by 2020 and designing all products with closed-loop principles by 2030 – including using only renewable and recycled content.

“The consequences of plastic pollution are severe, and Ikea is determined to contribute to its solution in a positive and proactive way,” Inter Ikea Group’s sustainability manager, Lena Pripp-Kovac, said.

“Our goal is to make ocean-bound plastic a commodity for the future, and we want to take initiatives to prevent plastic from ending up in the ocean in the first place. We hope this membership will lead to new learnings and new innovations and that we can inspire other companies to follow.”

NextWave of momentum

There are more than 86 million tonnes of plastics in the oceans, with up to 12 million tonnes added each year. Plastics has become the focal point for businesses targeting resource efficiency in recent months, but some companies have been working on the issue for years.

In 2017, HP unveiled new ink cartridge prototypes made from recycled plastic bottles from Haiti, as part of the company’s commitment to the First Mile Coalition. Today, HP has announced that it has sourced 250 tonnes of ocean-bound plastics from Haiti and created more than 600 income opportunities for residents. In total, more than 12 million plastic bottles have been upcycled into Original HP ink cartridges.

“While HP has already demonstrated our commitment to sustainable impact by eliminating ocean-bound plastics and reusing them in our products, we firmly believe in the power of collaboration,” HP’s chief supply chain officer, Stuart Pann, said.

“We want to scale our collective efforts amongst industry leaders, work together to address barriers and engage others in the quest for an ocean free from plastic. We have a responsibility to take the critical steps necessary to reduce plastic pollution. Collaboration within and between industries is one of those critical steps.”

The members to the NextWave Plastics consortium will integrate ocean-bound plastics from Indonesia, Chile, Philippines, Cameroon and Denmark into supply chains. Members are also committed to expanding supply chain efforts in these countries as well as adding new supplies from a minimum of three countries – including India, Taiwan and Thailand – by 2025.

In alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – specifically SDG 14.1 – the members are on track to divert a minimum of 25,000 tonnes of plastics, the equivalent to 1.2 billion single-use plastic water bottles, from entering the ocean by the end of the year 2025.

Matt Mace

Comments (2)

  1. Richard Snaith says:

    This is all commendable stuff but to what extent will initiatives like this address any of the dirty, difficult to separate, low value plastic waste streams which are most likely to end up "ocean-bound"? Clean PET from drinks bottles is a potentially valuable resource as is high density PE but not so the mixed and contaminated plastics which are commonly dumped as too difficult to deal with.
    Could you also clarify the source of figures claiming up to 12 million tonnes of plastic is added to the ocean every year? In a related article in this publication the claim is for 8 million tonnes. Knowing the scale of the problem is difficult but very helpful.

  2. Sarah Marshall says:

    what is the carbon footprint of plastic bottles being made into cartridges for HP? versus their usual production?

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