IKEA Starts Buy Back Furniture Program to Promote Environmental Responsibility

Dawn Hammon
·3 min read

IKEA, a global brand which began as a mail-order catalogue business on July 28th, 1943 in Älmhult, Sweden, is now known around the world as a furniture and home goods giant. Most recently, the company has decided to enter the business of furniture resale.

A sealed IKEA box sits waiting in a living area, ready to go back to the store as part of the company's new Buy Back program.
A sealed IKEA box sits waiting in a living area, ready to go back to the store as part of the company's new Buy Back program.

Simply dubbed “Buy Back,” the program will launch in Britain on November 24th, with the main idea being to push back against Black Friday, an annual event associated with high consumer consumption. “By making sustainable living more simple and accessible, IKEA hopes that the initiative will help its customers take a stand against excessive consumption this Black Friday and in the years to come,” the company said in a recent press release.

This focus will then spread to 26 other countries, including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Russia. Currently, the Buy Back program will not be available in the United States.

“It is a country decision, and IKEA Retail U.S. will not participate in the Buy Back program,” a representative notes. “The U.S. is currently exploring ways to bring Buy Back to the country in the future.”

The process is simple and can be initiated with a quick visit to the company website. After that, the first step is just to make sure the furniture you want to sell actually qualifies for Buy Back. For starters, IKEA does not accept home decor items or furniture from any other manufacturer. Mattresses, bed textiles, outdoor products, kitchen products, wardrobes, kid’s merchandise, and electrical appliances are also not eligible.

On the other hand, old IKEA dressers, cabinets, bookcases, shelving units, dining tables, desks, chairs and stools without upholstery, and chests of drawers are extremely welcome.

All these furniture pieces are perfectly suited for the new IKEA Buy Back program.
All these furniture pieces are perfectly suited for the new IKEA Buy Back program.

Once you complete a quick checklist identifying the items you want to sell, you’ll need to confirm the condition of each piece to receive an estimate. Customers then schedule a time to drop the furniture at a nearby store and receive an IKEA refund card in exchange. These cards do not expire, and the amount of the refund is calculated based on the condition of the merchandise. Furniture in like-new condition could garner as much as a 50-percent refund, while those in the well-used category may only get 30 percent. All items in the Buy Back program will be available for sale as-is once all is said and done, with items that don’t sell being donated to local organizations.

IKEA hasn’t always been known for sustainable actions, with promotions 15 to 20 years ago fueling a disposable furniture campaign of frequently replacing home goods. But successful business means being in tune with what is important to customers, and corporate responsibility during this deeply environmentally-focused time means finding ways to minimize waste.

Peter Jelkeby, the country retail manager for IKEA UK and Ireland, recently stressed that the company “is committed to being part of the solution to promote sustainable consumption and combat climate change.”

In alignment with this thinking, IKEA has launched a series of other products and processes with sustainability at the forefront. For example, the SOARÉ placemat is woven from a sturdy and fast-growing water hyacinth that thrives in the Mekong River in Vietnam. Sourcing this product provides work in the area and keeps the invasive plant from overtaking the waterway.

Additionally, the company produces sofa covers that give your couch a brand new look without having to replace it outright. They are also working towards a 100-percent reliance on renewable energy to power their facilities.