IKEA’s new homeware made from rice straw intends to help reduce India’s smog problem

As if having IKEA didn’t already make our world a better place, the furniture giant has gone a step further and come up with a novel new initiative to help make our air cleaner!

In a victory for India’s air pollution problem the brand recently announced that it would be launching a collection of home accessories made from leftover rice straw that would otherwise be burnt by India’s farmers.

Aptly and rather poetically named ‘Förändring’, which means change in Swedish, the home ware collection is set to include lampshades, vessels and mats all crafted using the straw left behind by harvested rice crops.

This initiative is slated to drastically contribute to improving the air quality in Northern India which happens to be home to 9 out of 10 of the most polluted cities in the world!

The project, unveiled yesterday at IKEA’s annual conference in Älmhult, Sweden, will see the brand collaborate with local rice straw collectors to make products with their already existing suppliers in the region.

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“This is a completely new material for IKEA,” explained Helene Davidsson, IKEA sustainability manager in South Asia.

“We work with small-scale farmers and local authorities to see how we can change habits and make a positive change, to stop burning and instead show that we can take care of it by collecting the straw and making these products,” she said.

Akanksha Deo, an IKEA product designer based in India, spoke about how the brand is inculcating the leftover straw –

A pulp of rice straw and fabric waste is used from which lampshades and vessels are crafted, while for the mats and rugs the lengths of straw are twisted into a cord to be woven.

Speaking about the mats which come in three different sizes, Deo added, “We wanted to create a fun family of rugs, not just with a different visual expression, but also to experiment with different constructions and structures.”

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With Förändring as a part of IKEA’s Better Air Now initiative, the brand hopes to replicate the project in other parts of India too and across the world as well, where the practice of crop burning is still prevalent.

“We want to see how this can be replicated, as there are crop burnings taking place around the world, so we want to see what else we can do with natural fibres,” said Davidsson.

Furthermore, IKEA also announced that it has partnered up with the Climate and Clean Air coalition (CCAC) to further its clean air initiatives.

The eco-friendly home ware will be available in select IKEA markets around the world soon and we absolutely can’t wait to get our hands on them! What about you?


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