Pioneering post-use recycling: a story with IKEA
Today, retailers and businesses worldwide are seeking sustainable flooring solutions to help lower carbon emissions, reduce waste and achieve sustainable building ambitions. With our longstanding commitment to fighting climate change and shifting to the circular economy, we are pioneering post-use flooring recycling in Europe. Collective action is central to achieving our ambitions. So we were delighted to collaborate with IKEA in Stockholm to transform used homogeneous Tarkett flooring from its Kungens Kurva store into new flooring.
Circular innovation in motion
We recaptured 10,000 sqm of used vinyl flooring from the department store through our ReStart® flooring take-back and recycling programme, and processed it at our on-site recycling facility in Ronneby (Sweden). There, we ground the flooring down and cleaned it of glue and concrete residue, processing the entirety of the remaining vinyl into high quality raw materials for new flooring, following our own groundbreaking in-house process. We incorporated the resulting recycled material - alongside virgin materials - into high performing, durable flooring for the IKEA store in Jönköping. In total, this climate-friendly project is estimated to have saved close to 100 tonnes of CO2 emissions. This is equivalent to the amount of carbon captured by 5,500 tree seedlings grown for 10 years.* “We have an ambitious goal for IKEA to become circular by 2030,” says Jonas Carlehed, Sustainability Manager IKEA Retail Sweden. “This means extending the service life of both products and materials. Recycling old flooring from one store and using it as raw materials for new floors in another benefits our company, our customers and the planet.” "
Understanding the carbon savings
Recycling avoids the need for waste disposal and the extraction of virgin raw materials for new products, reducing carbon emissions. Our IKEA circular flooring project saved carbon emissions by avoiding the need to produce raw materials from scratch (5.36kg CO2eq/sqm saved**) and incinerate the old flooring (4.23kg CO2eq/sqm saved). This amounts to a saving of 9.6kg CO2eq/sqm. For an area of 10,000 sqm, this amounts to a total climate saving of 96 tonnes of CO2eq. Transporting the materials by lorry between Stockholm and Ronneby emits about 2 tonnes of CO2***. The cleaning process in Ronneby runs on fossil-free electricity and results in negligible climate emissions. The total climate savings of this project therefore amount to 94 tonnes of CO2.
*Calculated using the https://www.epa.gov/energy/greenhouse-gas-equivalencies-calculator.
**Based on numbers from third-party verified EPD N° S-P-01346.
*** Based on heavy lorry transport of 30 tonnes of material for 550 km emitting 120 grammes of CO2 per tonne-kilometre, according to Trafa Rapport (2015:12) "