eBay UK, in partnership with WRAP, has announced the launch of the Circular Change Council, a homeware industry collective aiming to increase circularity in the furniture industry.
The “industry-first” collective features founding partners eBay UK and global climate action NGO (non-governmental organisation) WRAP alongside major brands including IKEA UK&IE, George at ASDA, Very, Sainsbury’s, Simba, Dunelm, British Retail Consortium and the British Heart Foundation.
The Circular Change Council held its inaugural roundtable in August 2023. The UK-based collaborative initiative from WRAP follows in the footsteps of the UK Plastics Pact, Textiles 2030 initiative and Courtauld 2030 agreement.
The new Council aims to increase circularity in the furniture industry and reduce the 22 million furniture items that are thrown away in the UK each year. WRAP reports 190,569 tonnes of sofas are discarded, as well as 33,178 tonnes of dining tables, annually. Recent research by WRAP shows that 20% of home furniture that is discarded is suitable for reuse.
The initiative is the latest in a series of activations from eBay designed to promote re-commerce and tackle waste, following its pre-loved fashion sponsorship of ITV2’s Love Island. Most recently, eBay says website searches for second-hand furniture have seen a 140% year-on-year increase.
There is a huge opportunity for the furniture industry to take on some of the challenges to help take steps towards a fully circular future.
The Circular Change Council aims to work with the UK’s leading retailers to frame “non-new” furniture in the most appealing way to help tackle common perceptual barriers.
Commenting on the Council, Kumaran Adithyan, General Manager Home, Refurbished and Electronics at eBay UK, said: “There is a huge opportunity for the furniture industry to take on some of the challenges to help take steps towards a fully circular future.
“We are excited to partner with WRAP, to bring together like-minded and forward-thinking brands from across the industry, to form a collective that can drive and incentivise behaviour change at scale.
“There are some challenges we’ll work together to tackle – from stigma for buying second-hand to the language and framing that we use around non-new items.”
The Circular Change Council aims to reduce waste, raise awareness of the value of second-hand furniture, and help retailers and furniture businesses navigate the transition to a circular economy model.
We hope to galvanise tangible actions, uniting key players in the furniture sector to work together and implement lasting change.
The Council is set to reconvene at its next roundtable in mid-October and publish its Forward-Looking Commitments for delivering action in its priority areas in 2024 with a view to launching pilot projects to prompt industry and consumer behavioural change.
Harriet Lamb, CEO at WRAP, commented: “It’s high time that we addressed the impact on the environment, as well as looking at how we can all as citizens create positive change whilst saving money, such as encouraging people to buy pre-loved furniture as they do with clothes.
“WRAP is chuffed to bits to be working with eBay, bringing our expertise and knowledge of convening businesses to tackle waste, as we have already in plastics and textiles. We hope to galvanise tangible actions, uniting key players in the furniture sector to work together and implement lasting change.”