PSA, Minimalists: You Might Be Able To Rent IKEA Furniture Soon

mbg Sustainability Editor By Emma Loewe
mbg Sustainability Editor

Emma is the Sustainability Editor at mindbodygreen and the author of "The Spirit Almanac: A Modern Guide To Ancient Self Care."

Image by Andreas Rentz / Getty

Love IKEA but hate commitment? You're in luck because the furniture giant is starting to experiment with rentals.

This week, CEO Torbjorn Loof told Financial Times that IKEA will begin leasing select furniture in Switzerland as soon as this month. "When that leasing period is over, you hand it back and you might lease something else," he explained. "And instead of throwing those away, we refurbish them a little and we could sell them, prolonging the life cycle of the products."

While the logistics of the program haven't been made public, it will probably look something like IKEA's existing buyback program, available in the U.K., Canada, Japan, and a few other markets. It gives customers the option to sell back their drawers, tables, chairs, cabinets, desks, shelves, and cabinets for store credit. No receipt needed, but people do need to bring the furniture into IKEA fully assembled, so it can then be sold in a "bargain corner" of the store.

IKEA is using services like rentals and buybacks to prolong the life span of its products and promote a more circular business model. In doing so, the company hopes to bring down its environmental footprint. Other initiatives in the works to reduce the (massive) amount of raw materials it uses include optimizing production practices so they result in less waste and offering repair services in certain stores. In other sustainability news, the company is also starting to open urban outposts that are accessible by public transportation so people don't need to drive to them. (Their newly opened store in downtown London also has electric vans available for rent and bike delivery services for smaller items.)

The rental reveal comes just after a laundry list of companies including Unilever, P&G, and PepsiCo announced they will be taking place in their own circular economy experiment, Loop, which essentially lets customers buy certain goods but rent the reusable packaging it's in. Encouraging people to move away from a disposable mindset could have far-reaching effects on the planet and our trash problem. Here's hoping more companies keep coming up with innovative ways to close the loop.

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