Ikea releases disassembly 'How To' guides as part of sustainability push

The Swedish manufacturer is encouraging extended product lives in an effort to combat waste and promote reuse.

In an effort to become even more of an environmentally conscious company, Ikea recently announced that the potential to "repurpose, repair, reuse, resell or recycle will be built-in to every Ikea product" by 2030. To promote the venture, the company has already made available a number of "disassembly" instructions for some of its most popular items, including the BILLY bookcase, BRIMNES bed frame, LYCKSELE sofa, MALM desk, PAX closet, and POÄNG chair. Whether or not we can manage to deconstruct the furniture without destroying its parts in the process is another subject entirely.

Currently, all of the available breakdown instructions are posted as free, downloadable PDFs via the official site, and although the company didn't give an estimated date for future releases, it looks to be a more gradual process, given Ikea's stated 9-year timeframe. But don't be fooled by the lengthy window — the Swedes have been doing a lot of interesting eco-minded adaptations in recent months.

The latest in a long line of environmental decisions — "Sustainability is at the heart of everything we do at Ikea and we remain committed to introducing new ways to promote circular consumption, in order to help meet our goal of becoming a fully circular and climate positive business by 2030, in addition to making sustainable living accessible and affordable to all," said Bege Sæbjørnsen, Ikea UK and Ireland's Sustainability Manager, to Design Boom.

Ikea's disassembly-friendly shift comes after a number of previous, similarly eco-conscious decisions in recent months. Just earlier this month, the iconic Swedish company announced its purchase of around 11,000 acres of forest in the state of Georgia to save it from destruction. In January, Ikea announced it would also be finally discontinuing its long-running print catalog, and shifting its sales solely online and in-store. Late last year, the company decided to cease supplying non-rechargeable batteries for its many products, as well as begin constructing brick-and-mortar resale stores for previously owned items, which would make sense given that Ikea now offers a buyback and resell program that can provide customers with in-store credit

Breaking it down to upcycle — While Ikea's transitions are dramatic in their own right, it is far from the only business to begin publicizing the reuse of its old products. Samsung is currently aggressively pushing its upcycle program for older smartphones, with Converse and Adidas offering their own upcycled shoes and furniture, respectively.