Look! IKEA Goes Green

Look! IKEA Goes Green

Jonathan B.
Dec 19, 2007

Smart, smart IKEA. They're taking the thing everyone complains about, the hollow-core construction of their furniture, and turning it into a green benefit. Read on to see why IKEA claims their modular furniture line TRÄBY is green...

As you likely know, many IKEA products are made in the same way as a hollowcore door: thin layers of wood sandwich a core that is essentially made out of cardboard. (There's a nice photo over at Instructables that illustrates this.) This is why we tend to think of IKEA as carbohydrate furniture: good for a quick fix, but unsatisfying in the long term.

The tags and signage tell us that the cardboard inside is recycled, and that the use of veneer from managed forests makes this product more green. The other products in the shot feature recycled content, too: the rugs are made from scrap cotton fabric, the plant pots from recycled plastic.

So, what's more green: TRÄBY, made with minimal amounts of wood, cardboard, and lots of glue, or a solid-wood shelf that is likely to be more durable? More broadly, is IKEA--or any other store--really part of the solution? This is where individual values come into play, and why it's been so difficult to define "green."

Where do you come down on this? Is it a genuine step forward, or another example of greenwashing?

image: Jonathan Bean

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