A lightweight material with heavyweight potential

The IKEA vision is to create a better everyday life for the many people. Sometimes this means optimising the little things – using the best screws possible in a table, for example, so that our customers can enjoy a sturdy, functional product for many years. Other times, it’s about the bigger picture – breaking new ground for an entire industry.

M-Board is made of up to 90% recycled paper

This year, innovative thinking about ”sheet” building materials, which are used a lot in IKEA products, resulted in a new board material with revolutionary environmental and economical benefits. M-Board – miljöskiva in Swedish, which means environmental board – is a lightweight material made solely out of paper, yet has the same strength as classic board materials like MDF.

M-Board is made of up to 90% recycled paper, a raw material that can come from the pallets that protect the IKEA products during transportation as well as from the materials that are used in packaging of IKEA products. “When the packaging material has served its use, it has the potential to be upcycled into new products,” says Dan Pettersson, Material and Innovation Developer at IKEA of Sweden and inventor of M-board. ”In essence, all of these materials could be used to make boards.”

M-Board is also 100% per cent recyclable, and the production lines for M-Board are 30 meters long and use about half the energy of other board production lines, which measure approximately 300 meters long. The result is less environmental stress, lower production and factory costs, factory locations that are closer to market, more efficient transportation and, ultimately, better pricing for our customer.

IKEA of Sweden AB initiated this innovation project a few years ago, and has since worked collaboratively with internal and external experts to speed up development.

“When working with innovation, we try to put people from different competence areas together,” says Johan Ejdemo, Range Development Leader at IKEA of Sweden AB. “We have had the factory managers, technical experts, designers and material experts all together on the factory floor creating the products from the start, building prototypes and really getting to know the material.”

After a bit more fine-tuning, M-Board will be introduced to the Children’s IKEA product range. This sets the bar high, since the children’s range has the highest safety and quality standards of all the products in the IKEA range– and children are perhaps the most open-minded and critical of us all.

“The thing with innovation projects is that you are supposed to learn new things and always dare to take
the next step, and the next,” says Dan. “Because if you don’t dare to try a new idea, you will never create another one. And that’s what it is all about for us.”

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Asking ourselves – is there a better way?