IKEA creates giant bath toys that help clear up the Thames


IKEA Greenwich has designed a unique remote-controlled boat that clears rubbish from polluted waterways. Created by Mother and introduced as part of the launch of IKEA Greenwich, the ‘Good Ship IKEA’ has been modelled to look like the retailer’s best-selling bath toy, SMÅKRYP.

The two boats are currently in action at Deptford Creek, south east London. Each one uses cutting-edge ‘Orca’ technology developed in China, which allows them to collect up to 20kgs of rubbish at one time. Founded in 2017, ‘Orca’ is an unmanned environmental protection boat, which has been equipped with rubbish clearing capabilities. Measuring nearly three metres in length and weighing up to 70kgs, the boats are highly durable and anti-corrosive, making them as effective as possible in clearing rubbish and debris from water.

IKEA is partnering with Creekside Education Trust in Deptford on the Good Ship IKEA project to provide a half-term educational experience for local families. As part of the initiative, the public is being invited down to ‘captain’ the boats remotely and the rubbish collected will be upcycled into a unique sculpture that will take pride of place at the newly opened IKEA Greenwich store.

In London alone, 300 tonnes of rubbish are cleared from the Thames every year. Various types of rubbish enter the waterways around Deptford and Greenwich every year and the most commonly found items are water bottles, crisp packets and footballs.

IKEA Greenwich is committed to having a positive impact on the local community, and following the half-term activity, the Good Ship IKEA boats will be permanently donated to the sustainability charity, Hubbub, as part of its ongoing programme to educate people on plastic pollution in our waterways.

Helen Aylett, IKEA Greenwich Store Manager, said: “IKEA is committed to playing a key role in the community and the Good Ship IKEA is just one of many ways we are demonstrating this. In partnership with Creekside Education Trust and Hubbub, we are taking on the important issue of plastic pollution with a playful activity and encouraging children and families to join us in cleaning up the local area.”

Jill Goddard, Chair of Creekside Education Trust said: “We have over 7,000 local school children and their families visiting us every year and we are primed to educate them on plastic usage, the harm it causes our local wildlife and how it ends up in Deptford Creek, the Thames and eventually the ocean. We are delighted to be teaming up with IKEA on delivering a fun but educational activity for the local community during half-term. So much plastic rubbish comes through the river water course and we strongly believe that if we all do a little bit, our waterways will be hugely improved for all of us.”

IKEA Greenwich opened on the 7th February and is IKEA’s leading sustainable store in the UK, designed to have a positive impact on the environment and promote healthy and sustainable living.

The Good Ship IKEA is currently running during half-term at Deptford Creek. As well as opportunities to steer the boats, the Creekside Discovery Centre is offering a range of activities including a recycled plastics workshop and a chance to sign a plastics pledge.