With the population of India well into the millions, it’s no wonder that there is an equally high level of smog and pollution in the country. In fact, India has several cities that are considered to be some of the most polluted in the world. Needless to say, India needs a different solution to smog and pollution than traditional methods. Thankfully, the IKEA masterminds of south Asia have found a unique way to tackle this pollution and keep India looking green and alive.
IKEA created a new line of homeware items that are all a part of the Förändring collection. Förändring means change in Swedish, and that’s exactly what designers and artists did with an ordinary material in India. These homeware pieces are made of recycled rice straw, a common leftover of the rice farming industry in India. Normally, farmers would set fire to these leftovers, but that only further contributes to the smog in the area and the pollution in India overall. This rice straw collection helps reduce the amount of damage in the air, and it also helps to give this otherwise unusable material a new purpose.
The Förändring collection currently has 15 pieces included. You can buy anything from a rice straw mat to lampshades and baskets. There are also various types of mats that can be used for comfort, as well as for cleaning purposes. IKEA’s sustainability manager in south Asia, Helene Davidsson, said, “We work with small-scale farmers and local authorities to see how we can change habits and make a positive change to stop burning, and instead, we show that we can take care of it by collecting the straw and making these products.” It’s great to see India taking a step in the right direction with the help of a readily available resource within itself. It’s a circle of life of sorts.