Ikea has rolled out a furniture buyback scheme in an effort to reduce its contribution to Australian landfill. With two million households in greater Sydney generating 48,000 tonnes of furniture-related landfill each year (the equivalent of 800,000 three-seater sofas), it’s a big step towards the Swedish homeware giant’s goal of being 100 per cent circular (meaning its resources will be continually reused) by 2030.

The idea was first piloted at the Ikea Tempe store, in Sydney’s inner west, when sales manager David Hawthorn noticed how much furniture he was seeing discarded on roadsides.

“Sadly, a lot of that furniture included products from Ikea,” he tells Broadsheet. “We started trialling the buyback initiative at Tempe in July last year, and since then we’ve received about 3500 buyback applications. It’s just been incredible.”

What started as a pilot in Sydney has now been launched nationwide. Here’s how it works: you fill out a buyback form online, describing your item and its condition. At the end of this process, you’ll receive a buyback estimate. You then take your furniture to any Ikea store along with your estimate number, and exchange it for an Ikea credit voucher. (The final buyback value is determined after an on-site evaluation.)

Items must be clean, unmodified and fully assembled to be eligible for the scheme. Ikea won’t buyback electronics or mattresses for obvious reasons, but the age of your item isn’t really an issue as long as it’s in good nick. Once returned, items are resold in Ikea’s new “as-is department” for the buyback value.

“We have a table at the Tempe store which is about 15 years old and is still a beautiful piece of furniture,” says Hawthorn. “We have it displayed like a museum exhibit because we want to show people that this stuff is great quality and it’s perfectly good for rehoming.”

Ikea has also partnered with GoGet to help get big items back to your nearest store. You can get up to 20 per cent off GoGet car hire when you sign up to the buyback service. It’s estimated that the new scheme will save up to 15,000 pieces of furniture from going to landfill in Australia each year. The concept is also being tested in stores internationally, and joins other sustainability-focused Ikea programs, including the removal and recycling of mattresses, batteries and light bulbs.

Ikea’s buyback scheme is now available at Ikea stores nationwide.

ikea.com