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  • Jacob Bourne

In the Spirit of Green Friday, IKEA Launches Circular Economy Initiative

IKEA U.S. has announced a plan to celebrate Green Friday with a Buy Back & Resell service and a Sustainable Living Shop in select U.S. store locations.

Shoppers fill carts at IKEA. Credit: Shutterstock

Green Friday arose in recent years in opposition to the tradition of mindless consumerism associated with Black Friday, which has led to multiple incidents of violence and chaos among shoppers since 2008. Black Friday and its online counterpart, Cyber Monday, also represent the pinnacle of consumerism’s environmental harm due to carbon emissions and other forms of pollution associated with product manufacturing, packaging, delivery, waste of underutilized products and the subsequent lack of recycling. It’s estimated that Black Friday shopping deliveries result in over 429,000 tonnes of carbon emissions in the UK, according to the Dirty Delivery Report. The report also estimated that Black Friday purchases from Amazon could result in an extra 18,854 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

Environmentally sustainable shopping is challenging, and there are all kinds of factors to consider, such as cyber versus brick-and-mortar, the carbon footprint of the goods themselves and the environmental track records of the production companies or retailers. That’s why several initiatives similar to Green Friday have sprung up over the years, such as Shop to Give and Buy Nothing Day — though the latter might be problematic this year for those wanting to support businesses crippled by the pandemic.

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However, one option to keep one’s carbon footprint in check over the holidays is to adopt the circular economy model in which goods are shared, repaired, reused and recycled. IKEA’s Buy Back & Resell service is an example of this model that invites customers to sell their used IKEA furniture back for store credit and then resells the item. It follows a pilot project that took place at the IKEA Conshohocken store in September. The Buy Back & Resell service is available in 33 U.S. stores from Nov. 1 to Dec. 5. However, it’s unclear whether the company is considering expanding the program and implementing it year-round.

"We are excited to share that the Buy Back & Resell pilot in Conshohocken had positive results – 100% of product brought in was resold versus recycled," says Jennifer Keesson, Country Sustainability Manager, IKEA U.S. "By expanding the service to more stores across the U.S., we hope to inspire more IKEA Family members to participate and further showcase how sustainable living can be obtainable and affordable for the many."

Selling used furniture for IKEA to resell isn’t the only way for consumers to celebrate Green Friday. Online platforms like Craigslist and Nextdoor have helped recirculate used items locally, saving people money and benefitting the environment. Additionally, the Buy Nothing project has hundreds of local groups in the U.S., UK, Australia, and Canada that encourage people to share goods, time and talents with their neighbors.

Alongside Buy Back & Resell, IKEA plans to launch a Sustainable Living Shop in all U.S. locations, providing a section of the stores dedicated to sustainable products and tips for green living. Discounts on sustainable products will be offered during November.


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