By Carbon 613, EnviroCentre’s business sustainability program
Earlier this month, we hosted a sustainable facilities tour with IKEA Ottawa. Carbon 613 members were invited to join IKEA co-workers behind-the-scenes (and above them) for a look at some of the features and initiatives that are helping them run their business more sustainably. Here are just a few of the things we got to see!
The rooftop at IKEA boasts a collection of 882 solar panels, which generate electricity equivalent to powering nearly 40 homes in the Ottawa area for an entire year. In the future, they may consider increasing the amount of roof area covered by solar panels, and in the meantime the white membrane covering the rooftop helps to reduce the “heat island” effect.
IKEA co-worker Ryan explained how IKEA has replaced traditional wood pallets with specially-designed cardboard versions, complete with replaceable feet to reduce the need to replace the whole pallet in case of damage. Further, cardboard waste from operations is recycled into paper products, which are re-purchased by IKEA and then used in-store to create a circular path for those products, helping them maintain their excellent 85% waste diversion rate.
IKEA co-worker Clancy showed us the Recovery department, where they repackage products with missing or imperfect packaging coming from returned or in-store items that are still in great condition but found with damaged packaging; additionally, using the “As-Is” section to reduce waste from returns, displays, and other sources, giving products a second life while diverting from landfill with great success. We also saw where IKEA accepts returns of incandescent and fluorescent lightbulbs from the community, as well as used batteries. They also hold special e-waste recycling events for the community and are looking at installing a permanent e-waste recycling solution.
Most of us who’ve shopped at IKEA know the food is not to be missed! IKEA Ottawa’s restaurant and bistro serve approximately 2000 guests a day, so they make sure that organic and recyclable waste can be correctly sorted by guests and co-workers. The Ottawa store was the first in Canada to completely eliminate plastic straws, replacing them with paper, and now sugar cane versions. Their dishwasher efficiently recycles heat and water to reduce energy use, their kitchen does not use gas, and they have an ORCA machine that uses microbes to break down organic waste into a form that does not need to be transported by truck to a processing facility.
As a member of Carbon 613, EnviroCentre’s business sustainability network, IKEA Ottawa is committed to continue reducing its greenhouse gas emissions and environmental impact, along with sharing its experiences and successes with Ottawa’s business community to help them along their own sustainability journeys.
When you join our network, you can look forward to more great opportunities to learn firsthand about Ottawa’s Facilities of the Future that are leading the way to a greener economy!