Ikea launches kitchen range made from recycled plastic bottles

The world's biggest furniture retailer Ikea has launched a new range of kitchen fronts made from recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic bottles and reclaimed wood, eliminating the need for virgin oil-based plastics in the range.

The new kitchen fronts, listed as KUNGSBACKA, went on sale online and in-store this month. Ikea stated that around 25 half-litre PET bottles are used to make a plastic foil coating that covers and protects the wood kitchen fronts.

Ikea’s product developer Anna Granath said: “What we do at Ikea has a big impact on the environment due to the large quantities we produce so by using recycled materials, we can create products which are more environmentally-friendly and sustainable.”

“Our ambition at Ikea is to increase the share of recycled materials in our products so we are looking into new ways to re-use materials, such as paper, fibre, foam and plastic, so that we can give them a new life in a new product.”

Ikea claims that the use of PET bottles, which are recyclable but often end up in landfill, doesn’t compromise on the quality, design or price of the product. Ikea notes that 70% of all PET bottles are either sent to landfill or end up in the seas and oceans. Replacing the virgin oil-based plastics traditionally used also enhances environmental protection, the firm states.

Traditionally, corporate efforts to introduce PET bottles into portfolios has seen the products remain largely untouched, although attached with improved recyclability. Some of Procter & Gamble’s (P&G) flagship brands now incorporate new packaging, which is composed of up to 50% post-consumer recyclate (PCR).

Coca-Cola used recyclable PET plastic in 1991 and has since pledged to ensure that 40% of the PET it uses is made from recycled or renewable materials by 2020. In 2009, the company became the first beverage company to introduce PlantBottle, a plant-based bottle package, with more than 40bn rolled-out into circulation across 40 countries.

Positive momentum

In future, other Ikea products such as the REINSVOLL wardrobe doors, set to launch in August 2017, will feature the recyclable foil. All products consisting of the foil coating will come with a 25-year guarantee.

Ikea UK & Ireland’s business leader David Vine said: “The new KUNGSBACKA range is a start in turning everyday waste into beautiful furniture. Today, 90% of waste created in the kitchen is recycled but few think about the kitchen itself, we hope that the launch of this range will help people to think about the materials that are in their home furnishings and create a more sustainable home setting.”

It’s been a positive couple of months for Ikea, as it pushes ahead with its People & Planet Positive sustainability strategy. Backed by a new €1bn financial framework, Ikea revealed that it has almost trebled the sales from its ‘sustainable life at home’ products, which are designed to promote sustainable living to its customers.

The company also sent zero waste to landfill across all of its UK and Ireland facilities in 2016, achieving a 90% recycling rate in the process.

Matt Mace

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