Every year, farmers in India burn agricultural waste like rice straws, and the smoke from these fire is a major contributor to air pollution in northern India. Now, IKEA is looking to solve this.
Swedish home-furnishing giant IKEA announced that it plans to use rice straws, a type of crop residue left in the field after harvesting usually burnt by farmers, to make its furniture products. Launched under the retailer’s ‘Better Air Now’ banner, the initiative is a step towards solving India’s air pollution menace, especially in the northern parts of the country.
The first product prototype will be ready by the end of 2018, say media reports. By the end of 2020, IKEA is expected to start rolling out these in the Indian market before launching them in the foreign markets.
Interestingly, the furniture retail will kick off this initiative in Delhi, which is infamously ranked among the most polluted cities of the world. This burning of crop residue in its neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana along with several other factors contributes to its deteriorating air quality that has now been classified as “very unhealthy”, reports The Guardian.
Following this move, IKEA plans to expand its programme to other Indian states as well. Ultimately, the idea is to bring the rice straw initiative into its international market.
India will be setting a global example under this unique initiative using renewable material sources. Shedding more light on this, Helene Davidsson, Sustainability Manager at IKEA Purchasing South Asia, said,
“Starting off in India, IKEA wants to turn rice straws into a new renewable material source for IKEA products. The ambition is to create a model for how to reduce air pollution that could be replicated in other megacities,” reports Quartz India.
To procure the required rice straws, IKEA is joining forces with Indian state and local governments, NGOs and companies, reports CNN Business.
Besides using rice straws as a renewable material source for its products, the company has also issued a global ban on single-use plastic at its stores this year.