Ikea To Boost Recycling Culture By Selling Refurbished Furniture

The global furniture retailer Ikea is attempting to become more environment firnedly. As a part of its this effort, the company is testing out the possibility of offering used and  patched-up furniture to customers in the UK.

The first attempt for the sale of old and used furniture was made in Edinburgh as a pilot venture and the company now wants to extend that project into Glasgow as well starting June this year.

A textile recycling scheme across the UK is also being launched by the Swedish retailer.

According to the company, these two programs that the company has taken up are part of its efforts to create a circular business model where there would be reuse of the materials and products that are sold.

It has been over a year that consumers in Edinburgh were allowed to gather reward voucher in exchange for them handing over their old Ikea furniture.  These old furniture were then refurbished by the company and put up for sale in the bargain area of its stores. The same business strategy would be put to test by Ikea in Glasgow, following which, the expansion of the scheme to other past of the UK is being contemplated by the company.

The efforts of the company is to creating a greener operation of the company through the launch of the two programs – for the old furniture and the one for textiles, said Hege Sæbjørnsen, sustainability manager for Ikea in the UK. A pilot scheme has already been launched in Switzerland by Ikea under which the company leases its products. There is however no immediate plans of the company to expand the scheme to its other markets.

“We are almost in startup mode, testing business models,” Sæbjørnsen told the media at the launch of Ikea’s greenest store yet in Greenwich, south London.

In addition to the Greenwich store being run on alternative energy such as from the solar energy generated by the solar panels placed at the roof of the building, the store also allows locals to learn the art of refurbishing of furniture in a special zone within the store.

The local community had shown a lot of interest in learning how to fix items, Sæbjørnsen said and added that by the company being able to develop these skills in the local community, it would be contributing to the creation of an overall culture of reuse and recycling. “We are building the foundations towards [leasing and reuse] so we can scale quickly,” she said.

Tests for textile recycling by Ikea have been ongoing in Cardiff in the UK since the last two years. Under this scheme, the old clothes, curtains or other furnishing fabrics that were brought in by customers were refurbished or repaired or cleaned and then they were sent to projects dealing with providing for the homeless or were recycled.

Ikea said that the same service is also available at its stores in Milton Keynes and Greenwich and the company would soon be expanding the service to all of its UK stores.

(Adapted from TheGuardian.com)

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