There are a lot of companies trying to make changes in terms of waste and plastic use lately. Cities like New York and Los Angeles have set bans on plastic bags, and numerous cities have set bans on other disposable items like plastic straws, Styrofoam containers, and single-use coffee cups.
Pro tip: Has your city not banned them yet? Here’s how you can properly recycle plastic bags.
While plastic is a main issue in municipal landfills (and a garbage patch double the size of Texas floating in the ocean), plastic isn’t the only type of waste to worry about. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported that in 2009, furniture accounted for 9.8 million tons of waste in landfill. Ikea is aware of this enormous number, given that this popular furniture store uses a staggering 1 percent of the world’s lumber.
In an effort to make a difference in the vast number of furniture being dumped into landfills, along with the amount of lumber being used, Ikea announced some changes to their business model. Starting in 2020, Ikea will offer furniture rental services for customers, encouraging a circular economy (constantly reusing items) versus the linear economy the company currently runs on (buy furniture, chuck it, buy more furniture).
The rental service would work like any other subscription service available these days. Customers can choose an item to rent—desk, table, chairs, what have you—and use it until the end of a present period where they will replace it with something else. Once returned, Ikea will refurbish that furniture to make sure it can be reused or resold to a future customer. This system aligns with Ikea’s current buyback program, where the store will resell used furniture in the U.K.
At the moment, this rental service is being tested by business owners in Switzerland. Reuters also reported that in the Netherlands, students can rent out a full room of furniture for just 30 euros, which is a little over $33 a month. This list includes a bed, desk, table and chairs.
Ikea is set to launch the program in 30 of their top markets by 2020. They are one of the many companies trying to make a difference in the growing pile of waste currently in landfills and our oceans around the globe. If you’re also looking to make a difference in terms of your waste management at home, here are 10 products that will help you live more waste free.