Known for its sleek, Scandinavian furniture, simple assembling process, and let’s not forget the legendary Swedish meatballs, IKEA pledges to be circular and climate positive by 2030. Their goal is to create a world without waste by designing products using renewable and recycled materials while eliminating waste and conserving resources. 

To achieve these initiatives, IKEA has adopted circular loops that consist of: Reuse, Refurbish, Remanufacture, and Recycle. The hope is for the products to stay in use for as long as possible with recycling being the last resort. 

In 2021, IKEA Retail Sweden opened its first test second-hand store at the Retuna Recycling Mall (the world’s first recycling mall). Recently, IKEA announced the pilot would be extended until August 2025 with sales more than doubling in FY22. Over 43,000 products were given a second life--either to new owners or remanufactured to create new products.

IKEA Circular Hub, Sweden

IKEA is also looking to turn towards using ONLY renewable and recycled materials from laminated veneer lumber to recycled polyester and mushroom packaging. Yes, that’s right folks--mushroom packaging to replace styrofoam. Polystyrene, the material that makes up styrofoam, takes hundreds and thousands of years to break down in landfills. Alternatively, plant-based packaging can decompose in a matter of weeks. Mushroom packaging, for example, takes just several days to grow in a controlled environment and requires significantly less energy compared to plastic production. And, for the curious, mushroom packaging DOES NOT look like mushrooms, unfortunately. 

IKEA Plant-Based Meatballs

And, what about those legendary meatballs? In August 2020, IKEA released their plant-based meatball, the HUVUDROLL, and their vegan options have only grown since to include veggie dogs and gyozas. By 2025, IKEA pledges that 50% of the main meals offered will be plant-based. 

IKEA is among the examples of companies shifting toward a circular economy, designing processes to expand product life, sourcing alternative, more climate-friendly materials, and even partnering with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (one of the leaders behind the circular economy) to further its transition from linear to circular.

At the end of the day, the power rests in the choices you make. Where you eat, what you wear, and which companies you support can altogether drive change and make a difference in the world we live in.

Here are some companies focused on championing the change to circular: 

  • Similar to IKEA, Patagonia has implemented various circular economy initiatives, such as repairing and reselling used clothing, switching to recycled materials, and designing products with durability in mind. 
  • Your beloved cutlery set, Cliffset--cleanliness without compromise. Our built-in dishwasher doubles down on the reuse component of the circular economy, reducing the need for single-use plastic food ware while on the go.
  • For the shopping fanatics out there, ThredUp aims to keep materials and products for as long as possible, operating as an online thrift shop to minimize waste and reduce the consumption of new resources.