Improving air quality by recycling rice straw

Swedish furniture giant IKEA aims to improve the air quality in various regions, starting in India, by turning rice straw, traditionally burned, into a renewable material source for its products.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), around 90 per cent of people worldwide breathe polluted air, leading to millions of deaths. India is one of the most polluted countries, with North India being home to 9 of 10 most polluted cities in the world.

One major contributor to the bad air quality is the burning of rice straw, a waste material from rice harvesting. IKEA now aims to tackle this problem with their ‘Better Air Now’. Initiative, by turning rice straw into a new renewable materials source for products.

IKEA works closely with central and state governments in India, as well as private companies, innovators NGOs, the UN, universities, supplies and farmers. On the long term, the furniture company aims to stop rice straw burning altogether.

The first product prototypes based on rice straw will be read by the end of 2018 and the ambition is to start selling the products in IKEA India in 2019-2020, gradually expanding to other countries.

As a first step, the initiative focuses on the northern parts of India and New Delhi. In later stages, IKEA will expand their project and create a model for how to reduce air pollution in other mega cities in the world.

In addition to reusing rice straw to improve air quality, IKEA is also developing air purifying curtains and air purifiers.

Photo: IKEA