This Ikea circular economy design and product redesign utilized insights distilled from the e-waste downstream to redesign Ikea's global supply chain and serve as a model for what an in-house circular economy could look like. 

Design Strategy | Competitive Landscaping | User Research | Content Photography | Strategy | Product Design | Design Strategy | Story Boarding and Illustration

Partnering with:

Homeboy Electronics Recycling

Product Redesign 

Circular Economy

Retail Experience

Solution: Use a product take-back system to create engaging customer experiences and build brand loyalty, while cutting down on waste and emissions.
Problem: Companies only address the front end of a product's life cycle, leaving e-recyclers to tackle impossible volumes of electronic waste.



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Understanding the downstream

Redesigning the upstream requires and understanding of disassembly practices. ​ When inquiring what problems occur, Brian reviled companies make products difficult to disassembly to protect their IP and save costs.

" Use screws not glue!"

Brian Fox

Itad Division Manager & Electronic Repair Specialist  

E-waste Insights

Difficulty Disassembling

is a big problem for electronic recyclers, the effort and time it takes often is a bigger hassle than the value the recycles get back. Labeling is used to make efforts more efficient.

Overwhelming Volumes of E-waste 

makes it difficult for recyclers to keep up, often times making quick, dangerous disposable tactics, such as smelting, the more lucrative .

Companies Acting Irresponsible  

Making products cheaply, intended to be bought frequently and for consumers to buy more than they need to keep current.


Building off Ikea's
Current Model 

Ikea's Global supply chain, consisting of many cheap electronics and their current plan to go green makes them the perfect company to make an impact. 

Returning products is a common occurrence. The space is placed at the exit and consumers only visit this area when relevant. There is a big opportunity to make this a first.

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Benchmark Product:
Ikea Rallen  
Product contains extraneous amount of different materials and lengthy disassembly time.

Measuring Current Impact

Highest impact steamed from material extraction, refining, and processing as well as disposal  

Opportunities for improvement:

Problems and Solutions
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Problem: Ikea uses band-aid fixes for a bigger environmental problem


Solution: Make Ikea the leading example for sustainability and create an engaging user experience   

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Problem: Electronic parts are difficult to disassemble  

Solution: Make recycling e-waste as easy, visible, and transparent as possible   

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Problem: Mass production treated as a one-way system

Solution: Reduce impact from materials used in the product and extend the usage of the material

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Final Design:

Ikea Docka & 

Consumer Take-Back


Designed for disassembly

+ Labeled parts

+ Special tool open tabs 

+ Disassembly area 

+ 100% recyclable 

Current Linear Life Cycle
New Circular Life Cycle
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Recycling as Branding 
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Recycling as Branding
Makes a material logo that is familiar yet unique to the product.
CMF Strategy

Standardized polypropylene materials enables closed 

loop system

Energetic Singles 

Satellite Employees 

Newbie Families

Freshmen Dormers 

Cool Splash

Black Star

Confetti splash


Target Users
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Product return station

By giving reward point when users return electronics, it encourages consumers to participate in the system and raises brand loyalty 




Keep the existing recycling center at the exit, but add a return product area at the store entrance.

Opportunities for improvement:

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By integrating material with a line of furniture, the amount and variety of material can be reduced.  

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Improved Impact Matrix
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Product impact before: 
Product impact after:
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+ Circular economy are normalized to


+ Less materials extracted 

+ Less waste

+ Smaller carbon footprint from 

   material processing  

+ Smaller shipping footprint

+ Almost 100% recyclable