Furniture chain’s big plastic-waste scheme is far from a novelty

BUDGET furniture chain Ikea has engaged the help of 1,500 fishermen in Spain, and a Comunidad Valencia-based interior designer, Inma Bermúdez, to fulfil a unique plan.

The former are paid to collect plastic waste from the sea and deliver it to the Ikea factories in Alicante and Valencia, and Inma turns it into brilliant household items, which will appeal to customers, even if it were not for the impending, environmental disaster of this non-biodegradable rubbish floating around in the oceans and rivers.

Tablecloths, cushion covers, handbags, marine themes, as well as simple and modern designs, with geometric shapes, are all part of a new Ikea range, to be released next February in Spain and Italy, and all created from refuse, fished from Spain’s shores.

Eventually, the plastic-waste, interior decorations, will work their way around the rest of the world, to every country in which Ikea has a presence.

The main material used is Polyethylene Terephthalate (PETE or PET plastic, or PET Polymer), the chemical name for polyester, which is the most common type.

The material, transparent, lightweight and hard-wearing, is used for packaging, drinks bottles, carrier-bags and even clothes.

And for every kilo of it fished out of the sea, another nine kilos of other waste, including various types of plastic, plus metal, glass and rubber, are caught up in nets, according to the Seaqual association of fishermen, involved in the project.

And, said Caroline Reid, head of sustainable development at Ikea: “Sea rubbish could be the manufacturing material of the future.”

The more companies use it to create products, the more it is removed from the sea. And it is hoped, demand for the material will eventually outstrip the supply in the world’s oceans.

Last October, Ikea joined the NextWave scheme, which involves corporations, charities and scientists collecting up plastic from the sea and using it to create consumer products.

And, in addition to focusing on ocean waste as its main raw material, the company plans to scrap all single-use plastics from its product range by next year.

It is already under way in all its stores worldwide, and their ultimate aim, said Ms Reid, is for plastic and plastic waste to become a circular economy by 2030.


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Posted by on Jun 14 2019. Filed under Local News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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