Submitted by: Sam Upton September 4, 2023
Maja Kjellberg, Packaging Development Leader at IKEA, explains the benefits of paper and card packaging and what delegates at the 2023 Power of Print Seminar can expect from her presentation.
Maja Kjellberg is responsible for leading and implementing innovative and sustainable packaging solutions according to the overall IKEA direction. Her focus is on leading the plastic phase-out project, finding new materials and driving material specification. Maja has a degree in packaging design and started at IKEA in 2011, working with developing packaging solutions for various product areas.
Being a low-price-driven company, the final price tag of a packaging solution is always a challenge and we want to be as affordable as possible. We also want our products to be as available as possible, so we need materials that are readily available for us to use. So even though a lot of start-ups are presenting really cool, novel materials, it’s rare we can use them off the shelf because we need such big volumes.
A lot. We know that our customers expect us to be sustainable, so it’s necessary for us to show that sustainability to stay relevant. That spurs us on to find packaging options that are as sustainable as possible. As well as IKEA, every retail company is looking to develop more sustainable packaging, so we feel an influence from the industry as well as our customers.
Very important. At the moment, more than 90% of the packaging material used at IKEA is wood and fibre-based, such as paper, cardboard and corrugated board. It’s an area that we are very strong in and where we are using a lot of materials. Of course, in many cases, paper is a good alternative to conventional plastic, but we’re also looking into other sustainable methods of using the materials that we have as well as new materials. In some cases, we’re removing the packaging altogether and selling naked products. We already do this in some parts of the range, but can also extend that to other areas.
The main benefit is that it’s the most recycled material in the world and it degrades much faster than plastic. We also know that paper is much easier to use in a circular way to increase the amount of recycled materials in use. We’re very strong within the paper industry and we aim to continue to use more paper.
That’s a really good question. They can be challenging in different ways, but the main challenge is the fact that we’re low price. We have items called BTIs, which stands for breathtaking items, which is our lowest price on a product. Within each product we always have a BTI, and that very low price doesn’t allow for extravagant packaging. So our low price items are a real challenge for us to find better ways of packaging them more sustainably.
We have some new innovations, but I’m not allowed to tell you right now. There are some really interesting things we’re looking into that will have a really big impact on automation and material usage. Unfortunately, I can’t say much more at the moment. You’ll have to wait until the Power of Print Seminar in November.
Maja Kjellberg will be speaking at the 2023 Power of Print Seminar on November 7. To book your place, go to www.powerofprint.info
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