IKEA has taken the next step in their commitment to make their plastic products from recycled or renewable sources – first announced at the European Bioplastics Conference in 2016 – and has teamed up with Neste, a leader in renewable solutions for polymer production and member of European Bioplastics, to produce bio-based plastics.

© Neste, 2018

Both companies aim to produce polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene (PE) from renewable or recycled waste and residue raw materials, such as used cooking oil, as well as sustainably produced vegetable oils.

The pilot at commercial scale of PP and PE plastic, chosen to contain 20 percent renewable content, will start during fall 2018. It will be the first large-scale production of renewable, bio-based polypropylene plastic globally. The production of bio-based plastics will be based on Neste’s 100 percent renewable hydrocarbons.

“This new material represents a significant step towards a fossil free future. No one has ever before been able to produce PP plastic from a fossil-free raw material other than on a laboratory scale. Together with Neste, we are ensuring that there is an opportunity to scale up the production of this material”, says Erik Ljungblad, Category Manager Plastic Products at IKEA of Sweden.

IKEA will use the new plastic in products that are part of the current product range, such as plastic storage boxes, starting with a limited number of products. As capacities improve, more products will follow.

In an interview with POLITICO in Brussels, Jesper Brodin, President and CEO of IKEA Group, spoke about how EU policy affects their plans to go circular and cut value chain emissions: “One of the unresolved big topics for us is that circularity requires a systematic change in society and here is where it gets very political. […] A baseline topic for us is to establish a level playing field. It would be incredibly important in the rapid transformation of every business that companies that go in the forefront are not, if not incentivized, at least not penalized for taking those kinds of steps. Secondly, a number of infrastructure changes need to happen across borders.”