Replacing plastic with eco-friendly alternatives has always made good business sense. But at a time when American environmental regulations are currently being rolled back, it’s positively revolutionary. Not so in Sweden where that nation’s furniture giant, IKEA, is replacing plastic with paperboard in its gift and refund cards. This means that the 12 million to 15 million plastic cards that IKEA previously produced each year will now be made of Iggesund’s revolutionary crack-resistant sheet: Invercote.
“We want to reduce the use of petroleum-based plastic in general and particularly where we do not have control over the product’s afterlife,” explains Per-Ola Nilsson, who works as technical support for paper and print at IKEA Indirect Materials and Services. “We can’t know what the consumer will do with the gift card, so then an organic material like paperboard is better in this case because it damages nature less if it is not recycled properly.”
The process to replace plastic with paperboard is happening simultaneously at all IKEA stores around the world. The plastic cards are gradually being phased out as all the newly ordered cards are made of Invercote. Nine motifs of the gift card and three versions of the refund card are involved.
“Three of the gift card motifs are made of birch veneer but otherwise they are all Invercote,” Nilsson says. “What we’re after is the premium feeling. Invercote has extremely good printability and stays flat when you place it on a flat surface, which is important so that people will experience the cards as being of the highest quality.”
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