The clever way to recycle old IKEA furniture

Give your pieces a second life thanks to an innovative, in-store upcycling program.

Selling furniture online can be a harrowing process. The thought of dealing with picky buyers who love to haggle on prices can be too much to bear for some, and it's sometimes easier to chuck your cheap furniture rather than passing it on.

Enter IKEA, who, as part of their going commitment to sustainability, has launched a take-back service at their Tempe store in Sydney. They're letting customers return old or discarded items to the store in exchange for a voucher to spend on brand new wares.

A wasteful nation

Findings from IKEA’s People & Planet Positive Report found that Australians threw away 13.5 million pieces of furniture in the last year that could have easily been recycled, repaired or reused. As part of their ‘circular economy’ strategy, the Swedish homewares giant is clamping down on waste and incentivising customers to return items to the store, which will then be refurbished and sold on to someone else.

“We want to make it easier than ever for Australians to live the sustainable life they desire,” says Kate Ringvall, Sustainability Manager at IKEA Australia. “IKEA is focused on ensuring all our products are designed from the very beginning with the intention to be repaired, reused, resold and eventually recycled.”

Value for money

As well as being good for the environment, this scheme is also kind on your hip pocket. Customers can find second-hand furniture for a fraction of the already-affordable cost, with the added opportunity to uncover furniture gems of the past that are no longer available in store. 

Will this initiative see the end of the fantastic find from the free, curbside council pickup or the humble Gumtree bargain? Probably not. It remains to be seen what resale prices will be like, but with the program running from one store only - to begin with - you'll still be able to secure a good deal on second-hand furniture if you look around online.

How it works

1. Submit an online form and pictures of your piece to see if it is suitable.
2. If your item meets the selection criteria, IKEA will give you an offer for the item, which you’ll receive in the form of a voucher. You'll also get the green light to take your fully-assembled item to the Tempe store.
3. From the date of the offer, customers have 14 days to return their furniture to IKEA Tempe and pick up their voucher.
4. Your piece will go up for sale in store for the same value as the offer you were made for the item.

No wheels? No worries

If you’re wondering how your well-worn 3-seater sofa will fit into your hatchback, IKEA has partnered with car-sharing service, GoGet, to help you get your stuff back to the store. Simply log on to the site and book in a van. If you are an IKEA family member, you'll be able to waive the $49 fee attached to the GoGet GoStarter plan if you use the promo code 'FAMILY' when you sign up. There's really no excuse not to!

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