Home Applications & Case Studies Ikea Could Start Using 3D Printers For Expired Spare Parts

Ikea Could Start Using 3D Printers For Expired Spare Parts

Ikea is a huge producer of furniture and when people throw away their broken furniture it produces even more trash – But Ikea is working in many ways to improve that situation!

In France the company set up a service which buys back broken Ikea furniture. You make a photo of the item, upload it and get a quotation on the price. When you bring your old sofa to a lokal Ikea you get Ikea gift vouchers worth your furniture.

In Sweden the company piloted a program where you can bring all your plastic furniture for recycling.

Steve Howard, Ikea´s chief sustainability officer, told Fast Company in an interview:

“People only brought back broken furniture. They didn’t bring back stuff they were just bored with, which means people were holding onto broken plastic furniture because they didn’t know how to throw it away.”

Howard sees the future also in old furniture which is kept alive by its owner. The company plays with the idea to produce spare parts, which are no longer available, right where the demand exists. They could use 3D printers to print these spare parts directly at their stores when a customer demands it.

“In the Ikea of the distant future, if it’s a small spare part, it could be printed nearby and dispatched quickly to you. That’s not in the next three years, but easily within the next 10,” Howard says. “We should reach out to the hacker community to come up with their favorite ways of extending the life of Ikea products.”

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