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How Ikea is buying back furniture as it seeks to be ‘circular’ by 2030

Image courtesy of Ikea

Ikea is pioneering the reuse of furniture with a scheme in the UK that encourages customers to sell back furniture that they no longer need and, in return, receive a voucher to spend at the store when they need something.

The furniture will be resold by the retailer within their Circular Hubs (previously Bargain Corner), at even more affordable prices, thereby giving a second life to Ikea products, helping to prevent perfectly useable materials from entering landfill unnecessarily. Customers wanting to sell back their Ikea furniture can visit and submit items for consideration by filling out a simple online offer request. The tool will automatically generate a preliminary offer and customers will then be invited to bring the fully assembled product and introductory offer to the Returns & Exchanges desk in their nearest store, where they will receive an Ikea voucher. The voucher will have no expiry date to encourage customers to only purchase new items when they really need something.

Peter Jelkeby, Country Retail Manager and Chief Sustainability Officer, IkeaUK & Ireland, explains: “Households are connected to around 60% of global greenhouse gas emissions, consuming around a third of the energy and 10% of the water used globally. Therefore, small actions taken within them can make a significant difference, and why Ikea is so committed to making sustainable living more affordable, attractive and accessible. As one of the biggest brands in the world, we recognise our unique opportunity to help lead that

change. Through Buy Back we hope to make circular consumption mainstream; making it easier for customers to acquire, care for and pass on products in circular ways.

He adds: “As we move towards our goal of becoming fully circular and climate positive by 2030 we will continue to take bold steps ensuring that, by then, all Ikea products will be made from renewable, recyclable and/or recycled materials; and they will be designed

to be reused, refurbished, remanufactured or recycled, following circular design principles.”

To coincide with the launch, Ikea is also introducing ’Pre-Loved Labels’ to its second-hand items, allowing customers to learn about an item’s past before giving it a new home. Greg Lucas, Country Sustainability Manager, Ikea UK and IE adds: “Our research shows that there’s a huge demand to buy quality second hand products. In fact, three in four would now consider buying pre-loved. For many, this comes down to affordability, but sustainability has a huge role to play in this decision too. Encouragingly, 32% people say that the reason they purchase second-hand is to extend the lifecycle of that item, with over a third (35%) agreeing that they like items with a history. We are trialling Pre-Loved Labels for that reason, so people can find out about their furniture’s unique past before giving it a new home.”

This article originally appeared in the Furniture 2021 report. Download the full report here to learn more about current trends, challenges and leading brands.

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