Tired of your IKEA Billy bookcases but couldn’t find a buyer who could come pick them up? Feeling environmentally guilty about throwing them out? Worry no more. Soon, you will be able to sell them back to IKEA.
The Swedish furniture giant, known for selling cheap, disposable cabinets and sofas, is piloting a buyback program in the U.S. as it works toward transforming its business to be more sustainable and “climate positive” by 2030.
The pilot program will be available at IKEA’s Conshohocken store in the suburb of Philadelphia from Monday through September 19, with the goal of making it a permanent service and rolling it out to more U.S. stores.
Customers in IKEA’s loyalty program, which is free to join, will be able to sell their gently used IKEA furniture in exchange for store credit. Those items will be put up for resale in IKEA’s “as-is” section at discounted prices.
“At IKEA, we are passionate about making sustainable living easy and affordable for the many, and want to be part of a future that’s better for both people and the planet,” IKEAs U.S. Country Sustainability Manager Jennifer Keesson said in a statement. “We hope the Buy Back & Resell service inspires our customers to live a more sustainable life at home while giving their used furniture another life and a second home.”
IKEA says it will review used products based on condition, age and functionality. Some furniture categories, such as dressers, will not be eligible for the program.
Americans dump 12 million tons of furniture annually, nearly doubling the amount in 1990, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. About 80 percent of those end up in landfills.
Despite second-hand shopping gaining momentum in recent years especially among younger generations, the trend is slow to take off in the furniture category for obvious reasons: shipping and logistics. A growing number of startups are experimenting with online marketplaces to help buyers and sellers move used furniture around, but most of them focus on dealing high-end pieces and make product curation a key selling point.
IKEA’s entry into resale could change the game. The Swedish company vows to be a “circular business” by 2030 by using only renewable or recycled materials in production. IKEA operates 52 stores in the U.S.