MUD Jeans + IKEA - A Circular Design

Upcycling is a key part of sustainability. Find out how IKEA is working with denim recycling company MUD Jeans to repurpose denim into sofa covers.

What makes a great sustainable plan of action?

Upcycling is a key part of sustainability. A good example is an initiative that up-cycles products with reducing unwanted byproducts in mind.

What makes a great sustainable plan of action?

Upcycling is a key part of sustainability. A good example is an initiative that up-cycles products with reducing unwanted byproducts in mind.

What makes a great sustainable plan of action?

Upcycling is a key part of sustainability. A good example is an initiative that up-cycles products with reducing unwanted byproducts in mind. Find out how IKEA are working alongside denim recycling company, MUD Jeans, to repurpose denim into sofa covers.

Thought Behind Action

IKEA is producing sofa covers that are composed of 60% sustainable cotton and 40% jeans provided by MUD Jeans. Aligning the goals of both companies, IKEA looks to reduce waste considering the mass production of their own decor and furnishings.

As part of our sustainability strategy, we aim to prolong the lifetime of IKEA products. In addition to that, we will use 100% renewable and recycled raw materials in our products. - Alberic Pater, Business Development & Transformation Manager IKEA the Netherlands

MUD Jeans and the Circular Process

The fashion industry is suffering from 'fast fashion' – mass production of lower quality, more affordable clothing. According to MUD Jeans, 1.2 billion pairs of jeans are bought every year, they're one of the main contributors to landfills. According to founder, Bert Van Son, textile reconstruction is them doing their part against this.

MUD Jeans leases out pairs of recycled jeans for an affordable price so customers won't have to rely on buying low-quality jeans for the same price as fast-fashion retailers.

As a circular design company, MUD Jeans aims to create a circular economy for fashion and incentivise customers by giving a discount for every pair of jeans sent for recycling for every lease. Customers lease jeans for €9.95 a month, after a month they can either keep their current pair or exchange for a second pair.

A circular design strategy is all about smart solutions to deeper problems.

Defining a challenge/opportunity, stakeholders, a business model etc.

Making a product (brainstorming, user-centric research, material choice etc.)

Releasing the product (mapping the journey, creating a narrative etc.)

Understanding the success or failures of that product

Defining a solution, continuing the cycle

Being able to change perspective and look at a product differently is also important to the design thinking process. It strengthens the idea over time, creating a more valuable product.

This process is particularly useful to any organisation aiming to reduce waste and industry pollution. MUD Jeans considered a major problem in the fashion industry and found a modern, sustainable solution that has a lasting environmental impact. But they will continue to grow as they reimagine for the future.

At the moment our jeans contain 40% post-consumer recycled cotton. For us the sky is not the limit, we always try to improve our products. Our goal is to be the first to introduce jeans made from 100% post-consumer recycled cotton.

MUD Jeans is a great example of a business taking bold actions to address sustainability and transparency. Being able to up-cycle old products and having an effective response to new market trends.

You can read their Life Cycle Assessment Report here.

The Product and Current Results

With 2 pairs of jeans used in each sofa cover, over 16,000 pairs have been sent to the production factory in Valencia. Producing each cover saves nearly 27,000 litres of water and produces a 67% less carbon footprint.

Providing these statistics and how they're collected is something customers and possible future collaborators look for. It's a valuable insight into the industry that shows that initiatives are genuine, being put into the context of a whole operation.

The covers retail for €99 in the Netherlands and eight other countries. In line with MUD Jeans's loyalty scheme and business practices, IKEA gives a 10% discount for customers who exchange 2 pairs of jeans in-store.

What this means for Tourism

A circular design strategy helps to create products and experiences that are more sustainable and attractive to customers. Post-pandemic tourism has grown into the 'build back better' trend where the pandemic highlighted where priorities in sustainability should be.

Circularity, zero waste and community are some of the key principles moving forward. Using tools from the Circular Design Guide, for example, you can take into account regenerative thinking to place both your organisation and marketplace and where they fit in scale to energy costs.

Post-pandemic, businesses set high ambitions in achieving zero-waste. What was niche pre-pandemic has become high in demand. With circularity, we can think about new approaches to the visitor economy.

Closing more loops to the environments around us, a circular business design aims to make experiences more distinctive and authentic with a short-circuit supply chain. It's a practice that meets current needs and has proven success in plenty of tourist-attracting businesses.

Brussels Beer Project is a community-supported project that represents the alternative views of Brussels, they primarily use co-creation to make new, innovative beers every week. Their completely recycled beer, Babylone, is brewed from unsold bread, was made possible through this circular design mindset.

SILO is a restaurant that aims for zero waste. Post-pandemic industry sets high ambitions on achieving zero waste where possible. In response to this demand, SILO is a new food system where everything is designed from waste with repeated, iterative design in order to find truly waste-free, reliable solutions to running a restaurant – receiving shipments in purely recyclable containers, any food not eaten is digested into compost.

Haeckles is based in a rich tourist area, also creating zero-waste products such as packaging made from mushrooms. Once decomposed, they can be used for improving soil quality and through reusing the mycelium produced, can create new packaging.

Find out more about Haeckles and how they got there

Key Takeaways

Published on:
July 2020
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