IKEA pilots in-store furniture reuse scheme for customers

IKEA has trialled a closed loop reuse initiative with the Furniture Reuse Network (FRN) on hard-to-dispose-of products, including sofas, mattresses and kitchen appliances.

Speaking at the LARAC conference in Kenilworth last week (October 20), IKEA’s sustainable development manager, Charlie Browne, told delegates that pilots had been carried out at the retailer’s Coventry and Wednesbury stores to trial the reuse of old goods.

He said: “In a nutshell, the customer decides that they want to adopt this service, which is advertised in-store. We are offering the service at £15, so it’s cost-neutral to IKEA. We don’t want to make any money from this, but offer convenience, great value and the chance to help someone else to our customers.”

Under the scheme, customers decide if they would like to have their old furniture taken away when they have their new furniture delivered from IKEA. The retailer will then make a like-for-like exchange.

For example, if a customer wants to buy a new mattress in store, IKEA will deliver the mattress and assess whether the old mattress is suitable for collection and donation.

“The whole idea of this is that this will be a reuse service in the first instance,” he said. “We are not taking rubbish away. We actually want to donate it and work properly with reuse and then recycling from the waste hierarchy.”

After used furniture has been delivered back to the IKEA store, FRN arranges for a local charity to collect it furniture and donate it to deprived households. FRN estimates that of the 10 million items that are thrown away each year, 3 million could be reused and more could be repaired.

Browne told delegates that while the pilots didn’t create the volume of items that IKEA had expected, the first “live stores” collection volumes were looking promising and that the company is intending to roll the service out across all its stores in the UK and Ireland.

Nick Warburton

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