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IKEA Will Help Clear Delhi’s Air, Plans to Turn Straw into Products

Good news Delhi! IKEA has plans to clear Delhi’s air and make it smog-free. Air pollution is one of the world’s greatest environmental issues and IKEA aims to solve it with its ‘Better Air Now’ initiative. It will start this drive from India. IKEA wants to use rice harvesting residue to make products, which is otherwise burned in the open air by the farmers, causing air pollution and severe smog conditions in the city. The idea is to create a successful working model in Indian cities that will be replicated across the world in other megacities.

The ‘Better Air Now’ project, is currently focusing on Northern part of India. Here cities like Gurgaon, Faridabad, and Delhi face bad air quality due to straw burning by the farmers. IKEA is rigorously experimenting with several materials to make out of the waste agricultural products, straw is the most common. One solution is to make paper-related materials. Such products are used for decorative and packaging purposes. The company officials have said that the first prototype will be made by December this year.

Helene Davidsson, Sustainability Manager South Asia at IKEA...
Helene Davidsson, Sustainability Manager South Asia at IKEA.

IKEA officials are working closely with the farmers, Indian government, universities, nonprofit organizations, and even the UN. According to the company, the project is one of its kind and no other firm is doing something similar to this. So, if IKEA is able to pull this off, it will become a pioneer in this field.

The products made out of straw will be sold in IKEA’s store in Hyderabad. But, IKEA is interested to use this same model and potentially sell the products to other parts of the world as well. A new city will bring its own challenge and with it a new opportunity for IKEA to come up with yet another product based on the type of waste produced. The company officials have said that they are looking for ways to scale up this process and learn new techniques of sustainable manufacturing.

For several years, IKEA has been at the forefront of phasing out hazardous products from its operations to tackle bad air quality. Apart from this latest initiative, IKEA is also developing air purifiers and special curtains that purify the air.

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