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01-25-2017

EPS Industry Targets Ikea

Following a press release from affordable furniture producer Ikea in which CEO and President Peter Agnefjäll states that they have “phased oil-based polystyrene” from their flat packs to be replaced by packaging made from fiber-based, fully recyclable materials, U.S.-based EPS Industry Alliance and the Belgium-based European Manufacturers of EPS, issued a statement urging the Swedish manufacturer to reconsider this decision.

The two associations claim that Ikea has based its decision merely on "the public perception that paper is uniformly a superior environmental choice. It is commonplace for corporations to link eco-advancements directly to the elimination of plastic, often in the name of unfounded environmental responsibility." The associations also said that Ikea had not offered a significant point of reference as to what sustainability effects the change will have, or what trade-offs the paper alternative will bring about: "Ikea fails to offer any point of reference to what percentage of EPS in their distribution chain they are phasing out or what environmental improvements will occur from using fiber-based packaging."

In response to an earlier declaration by Ikea that they may discontinue the use of EPS in lieu of EcoCradle – a mycelium-based packaging material – the EPS Industry Alliance claims to have repeatedly attempted to contact the furniture supplier giant to offer science-based information on expanded polystyrene. "Despite both the U.S. and European EPS organizations contacting Ikea to discuss a full environmental analysis, Ikea declined to communicate at any level, showing a disregard for all available information."

The EPS industry's statement goes on to demand that legislative product bans and corporate packaging boycotts be "thought-based and not emotionally charged decisions".

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