IKEA launches buy back scheme

IKEA has launched a recycling scheme which encourages UK customers to sell back furniture that they no longer need in return for IKEA vouchers.

The Swedish retail giant said the scheme will prevent useable materials from entering landfills unnecessarily and comes as part of a wider push for a circular approach to the economy.

A circular economy is economic system where eliminating waste and the continual use of resources is prioritised, as opposed to the 'take-make-waste' linear model.

Research by Porter Novelli has found that 94 per cent of Generation Z and 87 per cent of millennials consumers believe that companies should address urgent social and environmental issues.

The furniture will be resold by the retailer at reduced prices within their “Circular Hubs” - previously known as the “Bargain Corner”.

Used products returned with no scratches will be bought for 50 per cent of the original price, items with minor scratches will be bought for 40 per cent, and items with several scratches will be bought for 30 per cent.

Customers who want to sell back their IKEA furniture can submit items for consideration online to receive a preliminary offer, and will then be invited to bring the fully assembled product and introductory offer to the returns and exchanges desk in their nearest store.

The vouchers from the scheme will have no expiry date.

IKEA is also set to introduce ’Pre-Loved Labels’ to its second-hand items, which will contain details about the item’s past and its previous owners.

The “Pre-Loved Labels” service will initially be trialled across Glasgow, Greenwich, Tottenham, and Warrington stores for a two-week period between 5th and 15th May, to determine whether it will then be rolled out nationally.

IKEA has also launched a nationwide collaboration with online resale platform Gumtree to advertise and promote its recovered products online.

Shoppers can browse what products are available by entering #CircularHub into Gumtree’s search tool, and then collect it from the associated IKEA store.
Since its recent launch in October 2020, IKEA said it has already sold over 10,000 recovered items through the platform, serving 7,000 customers.

In April, Ikea’s parent company Ingka Group, announced an investment of €4 billion to support its transition towards using 100 per cent renewable energy across its entire value chain.

“Households are connected to around 60 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, consuming around a third of the energy and 10 per cent of the water used globally,” said Peter Jelkeby, country retail manager and chief sustainability Officer, IKEA UK & Ireland. “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 added: “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 re-used, refurbished, re-manufactured or recycled, following circular design principles.”

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