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Linköping Municipality adopts a ‘staircase’ approach in its furniture policy

Linköping Municipality adopts a ‘staircase’ approach in its furniture policy

Reuse, Recondition, Recycle is increasingly becoming the mantra of Scandinavian local authorities

Linköping Municipality wants to contribute to a more circular economy in that Swedish city. One way to do this is by using recycled furniture for new purchases. That is why the various departments and companies of the municipality shall when in need of new furniture, base their procurement policy on the so-called ‘furniture staircase’ principle. Reconditioning, reusing and recycling of furniture results in both reduced climate impact and lower costs in comparison to buying newly manufactured products.

The administration affirms this will still ensure local employment

The first step is to reuse existing furniture within the municipality. There may be a need for furniture in one business while another business has too many. The second step is to repair or recondition your own furniture. This must be done within the framework of the municipality's labour market service and by a verified supplier. The last step is that if there is still a need to buy furniture, it must be recycled or at least reusable furniture,” explained Nicklas Alsö, environmental coordinator at the Linköping Municipality.

Linköping is not the first to come out with the circular idea around furniture. More and more municipalities are discovering the possibilities of thinking circularly as part of a rethinking of how the world's resources can be used in a good and practical way.

As a municipality, it is important that we reduce our CO2 emissions and at the same time manage the economy. Furniture purchases for municipalities the size of Linköping can require large sums. By thinking about how we use the furniture we already have, we can also provide jobs within our own ranks. 

Our Labour Market Service company, where people on income support are given the opportunity for work activity, receives the assignments of renovating and restoring old furniture so that they can be reused in the municipality's other activities. It thus becomes circular economy,” added Mr Alsö.

The Labour Market Service in the city is an innovative municipal programme that prepares people for the realities of what they call the ‘external’ labour market, by giving them work in the municipal internal market that is increasingly based on circularity.

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