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Ikea partners with Newlight to further its renewable plastic use.

Posted on Mar 7, 2016 7:30:00 PM

IkeaSmallGlobal furniture giant IKEA have entered into an agreement with sustainable materials company Newlight Technologies, to further its use of plastics made from renewable sources and move away from the use of virgin fossil-based plastics. The IKEA Group, which has 333 stores across 28 countries has agreed to purchase AirCarbon - a family of high-performance polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA)-based thermoplastic materials made from carbon emissions that are able to match the performance of a range of oil-based plastics while out-competing on price from California based Newlight.

Newlight was founded in 2003 with a question: why can't we use carbon that would otherwise go into the air as a resource to make materials?  Over the course of 10 years of research and development, Newlight developed AirCarbon. Commercialized in 2013, they use greenhouse gas to produce materials used in the production of packaging, furniture, electronics accessories, caps, and a variety of other products. 

Under the agreement, IKEA will purchase 50% of the material from Newlight's 23,000 tonne per year plant in the United States, and subsequently IKEA has exclusive rights in the home furnishings industry to use Newlight's carbon capture technology to convert bio-based greenhouse gases, first from biogas and later from carbon dioxide, into AirCarbon thermoplastics for use in its home furnishing products.  Both the companies will work together to identify and select the low cost carbon sources and development of the technology to use a range of renewable substrates, with a long term goal to develop capacities up to 453 KTA or 1 Billion pounds per year.  The AirCarbon ( @AirCarbon ) plants are initially intended to run using biogas from landfills as their sole carbon feedstock inputs, with expansion into other AirCarbon feedstocks over time, such as carbon dioxide.

Minh Nguyen Hoang, Category Manager of Plastics at IKEA of Sweden says: "IKEA wants to contribute to a transformational change in the industry and to the development of plastics made from renewable sources.  In line with our sustainability goals, we are moving away from virgin fossil based plastic materials in favor of plastic produced from renewable sources such as biogas, sugar wastes, and other renewable carbon sources. We believe our partnership with Newlight has the potential, once fully scaled, to be an important component of our multi-pronged effort to provide IKEA's customers with affordable plastics products made from renewable resources."

Added CEO of Newlight, Mark Herrema: "IKEA's partnership with Newlight marks an important shift in how the world can make materials: from fossil fuels to captured carbon, from consumption to generation, from depletion to restoration.  IKEA is a leader in the concept of harnessing its operations to improve the world, and we are proud to be a part of that effort."

IKEA's long-term ambition is for all the plastic material used in their home furnishing products to be renewable or recycled material.  The company is starting with their home furnishing plastic products, representing about 40% of the total plastic volume used in the IKEA range. 


Puneet Trehan, Sustainability Innovation Director at IKEA  is an expert spekar at Bio-Based Products World in Amsterdam on 24-25th May 2016. Puneet will be joining leaders from Korres, BASF, Ynsect, Neste, CHIMEX (L’Oréal), Ecover and many more. Click the button below for all the details of this landmark new event where brands and retailers learn sustainable strategies and uncover bio-based alternatives.


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Topics: BBWNBrands, Plastics and Packaging, Recycled Materials

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Bio-Based World News Staff
Bio-Based World News Staff