IKEA and Neste are now able to utilize renewable residue and waste raw materials, such as used cooking oil, as well as sustainably-produced vegetable oils in the production of plastic products. The pilot at commercial scale starts during fall 2018. It will be the first large-scale production of renewable, bio-based polypropylene plastic globally.
IKEA wants to have a positive impact on people and the planet while growing the business, which includes using more renewable and recycled materials and explore new materials for IKEA products. As part of this journey, IKEA is working to change all of the plastic used in IKEA products to plastic based on recycled and/or renewable materials by 2030.
Plastic is traditionally made from virgin fossil materials, which contribute to climate change and is a finite resource. By changing to plastic based on renewable material, IKEA can secure the production for the future, and eliminate the need for extraction of fossil fuel for the purpose of making plastic.
One of the ongoing projects towards eliminating virgin fossil-based raw materials in plastic products is a collaboration between IKEA and Neste, which was initiated in 2016. Thanks to this collaboration, IKEA and Neste are now able to turn waste and residue raw materials, such as used cooking oil, as well as sustainable vegetable oils into polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene (PE) plastic. PP and PE plastic are some of the most commonly used plastic.
“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.
“The production of bio-based plastics at a commercial scale is a major achievement in the cooperation between Neste and IKEA, while it also marks a significant milestone in Neste’s strategy. IKEA is the first company to benefit from the developed supply capability that helps companies and brand owners towards replacing fossil-based raw materials with sustainable bio-based raw materials,” says Senior Vice President Tuomas Hyyryläinen from Neste’s Emerging Businesses business unit.
The pilot at a commercial scale of PP and PE plastic, chosen to contain 20% renewable content, will start during fall 2018. The production of bio-based plastics will be based on Neste’s 100% renewable hydrocarbons. 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.
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