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5 May 2021

Ikea will now buy back your old furniture in new sustainability scheme

Ikea's new second-hand furniture scheme gives vouchers for your unwanted items in a bid to encourage more sustainable consumerism
Ikea store

Ikea customers in the UK can sell their unwanted Ikea furniture back. The scheme launched in May 2021, after being delayed from Black Friday on 27th November 2020.

Ikea sells furniture returned via its Buy Back scheme as second-hand in stores. Ikea says this will give its products a second life and an easy and affordable way for customers to live more sustainably.

You'll get an Ikea voucher in return for your second-hand items. There are other second-hand return schemes out there for unwanted furniture, but not many companies will pay to take their own products back.

Related: see how customers rate Ikea fitted kitchens, fitted wardrobes and sofas

Customers looking at furniture in Ikea

Ikea furniture Buy Back: how does it work?

First, you'll need to visit Ikea's website and fill in an online form about the items you want to sell back. You'll get an automatic preliminary offer for your products.

How much you'll get depends on the condition your furniture is in, but you can get up to 50% of its original price:

  • As new (no scratches): 50% of the original price
  • Very good (minor scratches): 40% of the original price
  • Well-used (several scratches): 30% of the original price

To claim your voucher you'll need to take your items to the Returns and Exchanges desk at your nearest Ikea store. The furniture will need to be fully assembled and a member of staff will check it to confirm the amount of the online offer.

You can spend your vouchers in store at Ikea (including on second-hand furniture and food). They have no expiry date.

Ikea Billy bookcase containing books and ornaments

Which Ikea furniture is included in the Buy Back scheme?

The furniture included in the scheme is mostly non-upholstered, unmodified products including:

  • dressers
  • office drawer cabinets
  • small structures with drawers
  • display storage and sideboards
  • bookcases and shelf units
  • small tables
  • multimedia furniture
  • cabinets
  • dining tables
  • desks
  • chairs and stools without upholstery
  • chests of drawers
  • children's products (excluding baby items)
  • accessories from Ikea's PAX storage system.

You can't trade in items that you have modified or which aren't assembled. Textiles, upholstered or leather products, baby products, kitchen worktops, items containing glass, products used outside and non-furniture items also aren't eligible.

Customer looking at Ikea sofas

Which? Ikea stores will buy back my furniture?

All full-sized Ikea stores in the UK are part of the Buy Back scheme. This excludes order and collection points in Tottenham Court Road, Norwich and Aberdeen.

Buy Back is launching in Reading and Belfast stores on 17 May.

Your used furniture will be resold in the Circular Hubs in Ikea stores. Anything that can't be resold will be recycled or donated to local community projects.

How sustainable is Ikea?

Ikea says its Buy Back scheme aims to encourage customers to think about what they don't need, rather than what they do need.

It's part of Ikea's plan to become a circular and climate-positive business by 2030.

This will also include making all of its products from recycled or regenerative materials by 2030, removing non-rechargeable alkaline batteries from its products by 2021 and working on a water recycling shower.

In its 2019 sustainability report, Ikea said it has removed single-use plastic home furnishings from its ranges and 91% of its wood comes from sustainable sources or was recycled. It has also begun selling vegan meatballs in its restaurants.

Man and boy sorting recycling

How to dispose of furniture sustainably

If you have unwanted furniture, you should try to rehome or reuse it first, before recycling it.

Some charity shops, including the British Heart Foundation, British Red Cross, Emmaus, Oxfam and the Salvation Army resell second-hand furniture and put the proceeds towards a good cause. They will sometimes collect your items from your home, too.

Look out for non-profit or local neighbourhood groups online such as Freecycle - these are good places to sell, swap or give your pre-loved items. Other organisations, such as Furniture Donation Network, will directly give your items to someone in need.

Alternatively, you could try to sell your items online, for example via eBay or Facebook Marketplace.

Some stores will collect your old item when you buy a new one from them. For example, John Lewis will collect an old sofa for £44.97 and either reuse or recycle it with a local charity. It also collects old mattresses for £29.95 and recycles them with a registered recycling company.

Argos used to collect and recycle old mattresses for £20, however this is currently suspended due to coronavirus restrictions. Ikea's remove and recycle scheme is also currently suspended. It used to collect beds, mattresses and sofas (for £20) and appliances (for £7) when delivering new ones. The items were given to families via local charities or recycled.

Find out more about how to dispose of your mattress.

Recycling symbol

Other tips for buying more sustainable furniture

Buying second-hand furniture is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint, compared with buying new. Upcycling your current items can transform them into something new, without the need for new possessions.

When shopping for new furniture, look out for the following:

  • Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or PEFC-certified timber labels. These schemes identify wood, paper and other forest products made with materials from well-managed forests or recycled sources.
  • Long-lasting items, so you won't need to replace them any time soon. Our fitted kitchen reviews include a lab assessment to determine how well built they are, so you can get a feel for how long they will last.
  • Where the product will be shipped from. Furniture manufactured on the other side of the world will incur a greater carbon footprint from its transport.
  • Whether the product is made from any reused or recycled materials.