The UK’s largest furniture retailer, Ikea, will launch a plan to buy back unwanted furniture from customers for resale as part of the Swedish group’s efforts to reduce its impact on the environment.
The group is committed to moving towards a circular consumer model in which the items it sells can be reused, recycled or readjusted rather than thrown away.
Upholstered sideboards, bookcases, bookshelves, end tables, dining tables, office drawers, desks, chairs and stools, all previously purchased from Ikea, can be removed after customers submit an online application. Customers will not have to search for their screwdrivers – recycled items will be sold ready to use.
Buyers who return items will receive a refund card worth up to 50% of their original value to spend in the store, with the value calculated based on the status of the returned items. The used furniture will then be sold in special areas at Ikea stores and through Gumtree, the online marketplace.
Hege Sæbjørnsen, sustainability manager at Ikea UK and Ireland, said there was demand from buyers for reuse as second-hand buying became mainstream.
“All retailers must take this move seriously. We have to stay relevant. Companies that don’t really follow this and work with clients and the movement will find themselves not providing the services or needs that clients are asking for. It is also the right thing to do, ”he said.
“We support a healthy and sustainable lifestyle, working together to move away from the linear model [in which used items are thrown away]. “
The growing interest in buying second-hand items has led Asda to start selling pre-loved clothing in 50 of its supermarkets and at stores such as Asos, Selfridges and John Lewis selling vintage items. Music Magpie, the online specialist trading used phone CDs, books and DVDs, recently launched on the London Stock Exchange.
Ikea’s national scheme in the UK, delayed from a planned November launch by coronavirus closures, has been tested in Australia and Portugal, as well as stores in Scotland, where 10,000 items were brought in in just under a month in fall.
Some children’s products will also qualify for the scheme and those selling items will have the option of completing a “pre-loved tag” giving details about the item’s past.
Peter Jelkeby, Ikea UK & Ireland Retail Manager, said: “Through buyback, we expect circular consumption to be mainstream; facilitating customers the acquisition, care and transmission of products in a circular way.
“As we move towards our goal of becoming fully circular and climate positive by 2030, we will continue to take bold steps to ensure that by then all products will be made from renewable, recyclable and / or recycled materials; and they will be designed to be reused, reconditioned, remanufactured or recycled, following circular design principles ”.
He said that around 60% of global greenhouse gas emissions were connected to homes, so small actions taken could make a difference. “As one of the world’s leading brands, we recognize our unique opportunity to help lead that change,” he said.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism