Ikea launches second-hand shop: customers will get vouchers for old items which are then resold or recycled

Swedish furniture giant Ikea is best known for helping renters and buyers maximise awkward spaces with cheap, clever flatpack furniture.

Yet even the most eco-conscious home mover can be averse to disassembling and reassembling a Billy bookcase every time they move, all too often leaving it behind or discarding it in favour of starting anew.

Ikea’s latest initiative — the Buy Back scheme — aims to encourage customers to take their old and unwanted furniture back to store where they’ll receive vouchers up to 50 per cent of the original purchase price, depending on the item’s condition.

Second-hand products will be sold in the As-Is Area of stores — previously known as Bargain Corner — while the brand says anything that cannot be resold will be recycled.

An online quotation tool — live now although the scheme will launch in stores in the week beginning November 23 — will determine the value of voucher given for items depending on customers’ answers to five short questions on topics such as product category and condition.

Timing the scheme to launch in the same week as Black Friday, Ikea hopes that it will encourage customers to consider what they don’t need in their homes rather than what they can buy brand new.

As part of this, the scheme’s refund vouchers will not have expiry dates so customers are able to purchase new items only when they really need them.

What’s included in the Buy Back scheme?

  • All dressers, office drawer cabinets, small structures with drawers, display storage, sideboards 
  • Bookcases and shelf units 
  • Small tables 
  • Multimedia furniture 
  • Cabinets 
  • Dining tables and desks 
  • Chairs and stools without upholstery 
  • Chest of drawers 
  • Children’s products (excluding Baby products)
  • PAX accessories

Excluded from the Buy Back scheme:

  • Outdoor furniture
  • Any items including glass
  • Kitchens including worktops and cabinets
  • PAX wardrobes
  • Baby products such as cots, mattresses and changing tables
  • Textile or leather products

A guide to voucher amounts:

  • As new – no scratches: 50% of the original price
  • Very good – minor scratches: 40% of original price
  • Well-used – several scratches: 30% of original price

All full-size Ikea stores in the UK and Ireland will be taking part in the scheme from next month after a successful trial in Edinburgh and Glasgow last month.

“Currently, 45 percent of total global carbon emissions come from the way the world produces and uses everyday products, so Buy Back represents an opportunity to address unsustainable consumption and its impact on climate change,” says Hege Sæbjørnsen, country sustainability manager at Ikea UK & Ireland.

The brand aims to become a fully circular and climate positive business by 2030, with Ikea Greenwich awarded an ‘Outstanding’ sustainability rating by BREEAM in its opening year.

“Being circular is a good business opportunity as well as a responsibility, and the climate crisis requires us all to radically rethink our consumption habits,” adds Sæbjørnsen.

Ikea says all their products will be made from renewable or recycled materials by 2030, and the world’s first second-hand Ikea store will open in Sweden later this year.

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