Ikea’s 8 principles for circular design

By the tip of the last decade, Ikea plans to be a circular firm—which means that each one of its 9,500-plus merchandise might be reused, repaired, disassembled, and recycled as an alternative of ending up in landfills. In a brand new digital tool, the corporate shares the method that it’s utilizing to guage and redesign all the things that it makes.

For every kind of product, the corporate created a “recipe” for circularity. “It tells us what we have to obtain with this type of product so as for that particular product to be circular,” says Mirza Rasidovic, vary engineering chief for Ikea of Sweden. Then it assessed and scored every of its 1000’s of merchandise for every precept. “That created a baseline for us that enabled us to take a extra long-term method to, okay, how will we create this? How will we make this motion and transformation as much as 2030?” he says.

Listed here are the eight principles Ikea makes use of to assist make the recipes:

[Photo: Ikea]

Utilizing renewable or recycled supplies

Circularity focuses on what occurs with a product on the finish of its life, but it surely’s additionally necessary to make use of the appropriate supplies to start with. In some circumstances, Rasidovic says, the corporate has found easy modifications that may occur rapidly. A product is likely to be created from virgin plastic as a result of the fabric is clearer, for instance, but when it’s coloured plastic, recycled materials will look the identical. “For customers, there’s no distinction within the product, however the product is far more sustainable,” he says. In different circumstances, Ikea is working with companions on longer-term innovation to make new recycled supplies for totally different merchandise, or to scale up manufacturing of recent supplies.

Designing for standardization

Through the use of an ordinary set of components, supplies, and colours as a lot as attainable, it makes it simpler for customers to later make repairs as a result of elements are simpler to seek out. It’s additionally simpler to adapt a product or to pair it with matching merchandise.  “Sensible standardization really allows the purchasers to have many various decisions sooner or later,” he says. (If Ikea is making repairs or refurbishing merchandise itself, standardization can even make that course of extra environment friendly.)

[Photo: Ikea]

Designing for care

Circularity additionally means making merchandise that final so long as attainable. Ikea’s design group seems at which components would possibly put on out quickest and the way they is likely to be redesigned, and how you can make merchandise straightforward to keep up. “It’s designing a product in a manner that’s easy and straightforward to care for, so prospects can really do this in a manner that prolongs product life,” says Rasidovic.”It’s not solely about preserving it clear, however about stopping product deterioration both in look or in operate.”

[Photo: Ikea]

Designing for restore

Every product additionally needs to be easy to restore. “The start line, as we see it, is that the repairability ought to be attainable for the customers, and it shouldn’t require particular competence or instruments,” he says. In the course of the design course of, designers contemplate what would possibly break and the way it could possibly be mounted, and the corporate additionally research product opinions from prospects to look for elements that may should be redesigned and which spare components shops ought to provide. The corporate supplied spare components for some merchandise previously, however because it evaluated each product for circularity, it found extra that might simply be added to the listing.

Designing for adaptability

Since buyer’s wants change over time, it’s additionally helpful to make merchandise that may adapt—for instance, modular furnishings that may develop or contract, or furnishings covers that may simply be swapped out to alter the looks.

[Photo: Ikea]

Designing for disassembly

Making furnishings simpler to disassemble and reassemble makes it simpler to maneuver with out the chance of breaking—an necessary issue each when somebody is shifting to a brand new residence, attempting to promote the furnishings to another person, or return it to a retail retailer for resale, as in Ikea’s furnishings take again program. If a product is past the purpose of reuse, disassembly could make it attainable to retrieve some components for refurbishment, or to separate elements for recycling.

Design for remanufacturing

In some circumstances, elements from some merchandise may later be despatched again to a producer to be made into new merchandise; making the appropriate decisions on the design stage can allow this.


[Photo: Ikea]

Design for recyclability

After every product is used so long as attainable—together with repairs and resale to new prospects—any elements that may’t be reused ought to be easy to recycle. Recycling infrastructure could also be totally different in every of the nations the place Ikea operates, nevertheless. “Within the European Union, plenty of discussions are ongoing in these strains to actually make transfer substantial actions in enabling recyclability, for instance,” says Rasidovic. “That’s the comparable dialogue occurring in many various locations. We see that we should be within the forefront of this and allow this in our merchandise at this time. Though we all know that after we attain the entire tens of millions of consumers in 30 or so totally different nations, we notice that after they take it residence, they don’t essentially have the recyclability capabilities at this time.”

Higher legal guidelines will help push the circular financial system ahead, Rasidovic says, by making new necessities for repairability or recycled content material, for instance. There are nonetheless technical and logistical challenges to completely making the change for each product—and establishing the infrastructure, like take-back packages at shops, to assist it. However the firm thinks that it will possibly attain its 2030 objective, and by being as clear as it will possibly concerning the course of, it desires to assist different firms make the identical transfer. “This transformation is just not solely about a firm that transforms,” he says. “That is a couple of world transformation that we hope is occurring.”