Ikea wants to clean up India’s skies by turning waste into products

In New Delhi, India, one of the most polluted cities in the world, one part of the sickly haze in the air often comes from nearby rice fields, where farmers burn straw after harvesting. When the wind blows in the wrong direction, massive clouds of smoke settle over the city, making it dangerous to breathe outside. The smog–which also comes from cars, and is made worse by weather patterns that trap air overhead–is sometimes so thick it causes car accidents . [Photo: © Inter Ikea Systems B.V. 2018] For farmers, who have to quickly prepare fields to plant wheat, setting fires seems like the only option. But Ikea now wants to give them another. Farmers will be able to sell the unused part of rice plants to the home furnishing giant, which wants to turn it into a material for new products. [Photo: © Inter Ikea Systems B.V. 2018] “We saw the fields around here being burned and thought, well, what if we can turn that burning into a material instead, and create something good out of it, and something good for the small-scale farmers as well?” says Helene Davidsson, the sustainability manager for South Asia at Ikea Purchasing. […]

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