Ikea Australia has launched a service to buy back used furniture, giving items a second life by on selling them to other customers.
The take back service is available at Ikea Tempe in Sydney and was created to encourage customers to recycle unwanted Ikea products instead of throwing them away.
The retailer launched the service in conjunction with its annual People and Planet Positive Report, which found Australians throw away millions of pieces of furniture that could be recycled, reused or repaired.
Half of Australians (56 per cent) have thrown away furniture in the last 12 months, according to Ikea, even though a quarter of people would have kept the item if they knew how to repair or reuse it.
Ikea is known for its ‘fast fashion’ approach to furniture—low-cost items not generally expected to last—but Ikea Australia sustainability manager Kate Ringvall says the retailer is committed to sustainability.
“Ikea is focused on ensuring all our products are designed from the very beginning with the intention to be repaired, reused, resold and eventually recycled,” she says.
“In fact, 60 per cent of our range is currently based on renewable materials. Our utmost priority is to generate as little waste as possible, but we can’t do it alone—it takes government, business, industry and the entire community to make a difference.”
To use the service customers fill out an online form and send photos of their old Ikea furniture to be assessed. If the item qualifies, shoppers are offered a price for the furniture, which they deliver to Ikea Tempe where they will receive a voucher. Ikea will then put the furniture up for sale at the same value as the voucher.
The service will be promoted through an eight-week pop-up store, where shoppers can learn about the circular economy. The pop-up will show customers how Ikea uses recycled materials including plastic bottles and glass to create everything from kitchen cabinets to vases, and offer sustainability workshops.
Ikea has had success with buy back programs in other markets, including in Japan where more than 3,500 items were sold back to Ikea in the first year. In Australia, the retailer already offers take back programs for sofas, mattresses, batteries and lightbulbs and is working towards becoming 100 per cent circular and climate positive by 2030.
By Ruth Cooper