Sofas given new lease of life thanks to launch of John Lewis re-use scheme

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John Lewis have taken on a new initiative to divert old sofas from landfill sites to needy homes.

4 million* children in the UK live in households that cannot afford to replace worn out or broken furniture.

10 million* items of furniture are thrown away every year in the UK – 3 million of these could be re-used.

In response, John Lewis has launched its first not for profit service; the sofa reuse scheme, which sees ‘end of first life’ sofas collected by the retailer from customers homes, then reused and/or recycled in conjunction with local charities to support disadvantaged communities.

John Lewis has worked with The Furniture Re-use Network (FRN), a national co-ordinating body for 300 UK re-use organisations that collect a wide range of household items to pass onto people in need, to launch the scheme. A trial was recently completed in the North West, which saw 192 sofas successfully reused and/or recycled and the scheme will launch nationwide in April. FRN’s aim is to relieve poverty and reduce waste by promoting the re-use of essential household furniture to help people in need, which aligns with John Lewis’s own sustainability strategy.

Customers pay a fee** to participate in the scheme, which covers the basic running costs incurred by the retailer with the remainder being given to the reuse charity to help support its activities. The sofas are collected by John Lewis green van drivers at the same time as delivering new sofas to customers, which helps limit unnecessary road mile usage. The sofas are then stored at John Lewis distribution centres and collected by local FRN charity partners. There are 17 local charity partners set-up nationwide, helping to ensure that sofas are distributed to local people in need.

It is anticipated that the scheme will result in 65% of returned sofas being reused, 20% repaired or refurbished and then reused and 15% broken down into component parts and responsibly recycled. For every item John Lewis takes back, a family in need is being helped; either by replacing a sofa that they would not otherwise be able to afford or by providing employment opportunities in the communities in which the retailer operates.

Stephen Cawley, Head of Sustainability at John Lewis said: “We are delighted to partner with local charities and help families nationwide in accessing much needed furniture. At the same time, it supports our ambition to divert waste from landfill - so it is a win win approach for communities and the environment.”

Lesley Wilcox at The Furniture Reuse Network added: “The trials were a resounding success and I am delighted they have paved the way for the roll out of such a positive scheme. I would like to thank John Lewis customers for supporting the scheme and the local charities with which we work who work at ground level to provide real support to some of those most in need.”

Notes to editors

  • Statistics from Department for Work and Pensions, March 2007

** £29.97 per customer

For more information contact:
Emma Cooke
Senior Press Officer Community
m: 07980 843060
e: emma_j_cooke(at)johnlewis(dot)co(dot)uk

Notes to Editors

The John Lewis Partnership - The John Lewis Partnership operates 39 John Lewis shops across the UK (30 department stores and nine John Lewis at home), johnlewis.com, 255 Waitrose supermarkets, 35 Waitrose convenience stores, waitrose.com and business to business contracts in the UK and abroad. The business has annual gross sales of over £9.5bn. It is the UK's largest example of worker co-ownership where all 84,700 staff are Partners in the business.

John Lewis - John Lewis, 'Retailer of the Year 2013'* and 'Multichannel Retailer of the Year 2013'*, typically stocks more than 350,000 separate lines in its department stores. The website stocks over 200,000 products focused on the best of fashion, beauty, home and giftware and electrical items including online exclusives. johnlewis.com is consistently ranked one of the top online shopping destinations in the UK. (http://www.johnlewis.com). John Lewis Insurance offers a range of comprehensive insurance products - home, car, wedding and event, travel and pet insurance and life cover - delivering the usual values of expertise, trust and customer service expected from the John Lewis brand.

  • Oracle Retail Week Awards 2013

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