Design Ideas

IKEA’s New “Buy Back” Program Launched in the UK, Offering Money Toward New Furniture If You Donate Your Old Stuff

published May 10, 2021
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It might not be something you think about terribly often, but furniture waste is a major issue, with the Environmental Protection Agency noting that 12.1 million tons of used items such as sofas, tables, chairs, and mattresses, ended up in landfills in 2018 alone — an increase from 2.2 million tons in 1960.

In an effort to help reduce the furnishings and materials that end up in landfills, IKEA UK is offering up a new program to incentivize shoppers to bring in the items they plan to replace while saving major money on their home refresh. The new “buy back” service allows you to use the online estimator tool to determine exactly how much money you’ll get back, depending on the item’s condition. Then shoppers can bring their fully-assembled furniture with a copy of the estimate to any IKEA store, receiving a gift card in the allotted amount that will never expire, so you can use it anytime in the future if you’re not looking to buy new furniture in the short-term.

Eligible products include dressers, office drawer cabinets, small structures with drawers, display storage and sideboards, bookcases and shelf units, small tables, multimedia furniture, cabinets, dining tables and desks, chairs and stools without upholstery, chests of drawers and children’s products (excluding baby items). Outdoor furniture, kitchen furnishings, anything with glass, and textile, upholstered, or leather goods are currently not eligible for the promotion.

That said, shoppers can get plenty of bang for their buck if they take advantage of the offer — Furniture News reports that used items returned as good as new will be bought for 50 percent of the original price, and items with minor scratches will be bought for 40 percent. Items with more noticeable damage will receive 30 percent in return.

Returned items will be given a new life and sold through the brand’s circular hub, where discontinued and display items in working order can be purchased, with a goal to help reduce the amount of furniture waste that ends up in landfills. They’ll also introduce Pre-Loved Labels to secondhand items, so shoppers can learn a bit about the item’s past, which certainly makes for a special addition to any household when given the opportunity to learn about its history.

IKEA’s buy back program was slated to launch last fall but was postponed due to the COVID-19 lockdown, and it’s part of IKEA’s larger commitment to sustainability across nearly every aspect of their global manufacturing processes. “As one of the biggest brands in the world, we recognize our unique opportunity to help lead that change,” said Peter Jelkeby, the country retail manager and chief sustainability officer for IKEA in the UK and Ireland. “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 reused, refurbished, remanufactured or recycled, following circular design principles.”

Here’s hoping the program will expand to the U.S. and other countries in time so that old IKEA furniture everywhere can get a second life in a new home.