Ikea is debuting its very first secondhand store in the town of Eskilstuna, Sweden, according to a local paper called, appropriately, The Local. When it comes to manufacturing and environmental sustainability, it's understandable to feel jaded about massive corporations making sanctimonious announcements about "saving" the environment. People want to see action, not press releases. But it looks like Ikea is delivering on that front... or at least trying to.
The store will be part of a large, secondhand-and-recycling mall called ReTuna Återbruksgalleria. It'll get its stock from a nearby Ikea store. It's exactly the sort of the move we'd like to see transplanted into the global home of conspicuous consumption: the United States.
"As is" but make it a store — The ReTuna outlet will offer repaired as well as old items from the flat-pack-furniture store's popular lines. The company says that its eco-friendly move is to encourage sustainability among its consumers. Ikea's Swedish sustainability director Jonas Carlehed told The Local, "If we are going to reach our sustainability goals we need to challenge ourselves and test our ideas in practice."
Ikea has long offered returns or damaged goods at discounted prices in the "as is" portions of its stores, but this is the first time it's taken the concept and turned it into a whole store. Part of the practicality of ReTuna, of course, is its proximity to a regular store, so if the company does roll the idea out to more locations, it'll need to take similar steps to ensure it doesn't squander money on transportation costs, and the emissions they'll likely entail.
A smart move — Ikea already enjoys considerable approval from buyers around the world for its affordable gadgets, willingness to embrace unusual concepts, and enthusiasm for collaborations. Adding secondhand furniture and other sustainable efforts to the mix could further increase its appeal.
Many people already enjoy secondhand buys when it comes to furniture, whether because they're looking to reduce waste or simply to save money. More often than not, a little time and patience on Facebook Marketplace is all it takes to find high-quality items. But having them in one store is even more convenient.
Plus, there are the potential noxious fumes to consider. As TreeHugger reported a while back, "The best way to avoid formaldehyde is to buy used [furniture], whether it is an older home where it has had the time to off-gas, or furniture that has stood the test of time. Or, buy solid wood furniture instead of particle board."
Friendlier to the environement and less likely to cause respiratory problems? Sign us up.