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Ikea to buy back used furniture in recycling push

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Mikhail Tereshchenko

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Ikea will soon be selling pre-used versions of some of its best sellers

Ikea, the world’s biggest furniture business, is planning a second-hand furniture venture.

The Swedish giant will next month launch a scheme to buy back your unwanted Billy bookcases, and certain other of its furniture items you no longer need or want.

Under the plan, it will offer vouchers worth up to 50% of the original price, to be spent at its stores.

The “Buy Back” initiative will launch to coincide with Black Friday.

“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,” it said in reference to 27 November, when lots of retailers offer discounts on their products.

The scheme will see customers given vouchers to spend at Ikea stores, the value of which will depend on the condition of the items they are returning.

Customers with “as new” items, with no scratches, will get 50% of the original price, “very good” items, with minor scratches, will get 40% and “well used”, with several scratches, will get 30%.

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The offer applies to furniture typically without upholstery, such as the famous Billy bookcases, chairs, stools, desks and dining tables.

Ikea said that anything that cannot be resold will be recycled.

Ikea plans to have dedicated areas in every store where people can sell back their old furniture and find repaired or refurbished furniture.

The company started its first collection in 1948 and some vintage Ikea products have become collectable in recent years.

Auction websites carry a number of Ikea designs from previous decades, and some are on sale for thousands of pounds.

Rising demand

The company has been testing out furniture reselling in Edinburgh and Glasgow for more than a year.

Ikea, which has been taking steps to become more environmentally friendly, says it aims to become “a fully circular and climate positive business by 2030”.

A “circular” business is one which reuses or recycles materials and products.

Earlier this month the group announced plans to open a record number of stores this year.

The Swedish company and its franchisees will open 50 stores worldwide – including in the UK – adding to the 445 stores currently run by the brand.

Ikea’s biggest franchisee said demand was rising after lockdown as people seek to do up their homes.

Its latest figures showed sales in the year to August were €39.6bn (£36bn).

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